The Egyptian armed forces on Wednesday deposed President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the country’s constitution, the country’s defense minister said.
A panel has been formed to review and amend the constitution in accordance with the people’s demands, Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a televised address to the nation.
He said the head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, would lead the country during the transition period until an early presidential election is held.
Millions of Egyptians took to the streets across the country welcoming the armed forces’ statement, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.
Mansour would be sworn in on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported.
The Qatar-based broadcaster reported that Morsi’s Islamist supporters who have gathered in a Cairo suburb reacted angrily to the army’s announcement, with some of them breaking up paving stones and forming piles of rocks.
Egyptian news portal Ahram Online said “ex-president Mohamed Morsi” issued a statement on his official Facebook page saying “the Wednesday military announcement amounts to a coup.”
“The procedures announced by the general command of the armed forces represents a full coup d’etat that is completely unacceptable,” the statement said.
Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi earlier on Wednesday proposed forming a coalition government to pave the way to parliamentary elections in a bid to end the current standoff. The presidential office said Morsi also proposed setting up an independent commission to introduce amendments to the country’s constitution.
“The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election,” the office said in a Facebook statement.
Morsi’s statement came as the deadline passed Wednesday afternoon on the army’s ultimatum asking him to meet the people’s demands and resolve huge protests against his rule or face a military takeover.
The move to oust the president follows four days of mass demonstrations against Morsi across Egypt starting Sunday.
Millions of protesters gathered across the country demanding Morsi’s ouster on Sunday, the first anniversary of his presidency. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo and in Tahrir Square, the focus of the 2011 revolution and the key venue of many opposition rallies.
Dozens have reportedly been killed and hundreds injured in clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents since Sunday.
The overthrown leader was believed to be holed up at a Republican Guard barracks in the capital Cairo, surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, Al Jazeera said. It was unclear if he was under arrest.
The US Department of State has ordered nonessential American diplomats and the families of all US Embassy personnel to leave Egypt, The Associated Press reported.