Egypt opposition gives Morsi a day to quit

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EGYPT20130702

Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a protest calling for his ouster in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on Sunday. AFP PHOTO

CAIRO: Egypt’s opposition on Monday gave Islamist Mohamed Morsi a day to quit or face civil disobedience after deadly protests demanded the country’s first democratically elected president step down after just a year in office.

“We give Mohamed Morsi until 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) on July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections,” the Tamarod movement said in a statement on its website.

Otherwise, “Tuesday, 5 p.m. will be the beginning of a complete civil disobedience campaign.”

Tamarod—Arabic for Rebellion—is a grassroots campaign which says it collected more than 22 million signatures declaring a lack of confidence in Morsi.

It was behind Sunday’s protests that saw millions of people take to the streets demanding his departure on the first anniversary of his inauguration as president.

As Morsi stood firm and insisted the only way out of the political crisis was dialogue, calls for army intervention increased.

Tamarod’s statement urged state institutions to stand side by side with the protesters.

It urged “the army, the police and the judiciary to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds.”

Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi called for military intervention if Morsi refused to quit.

“The Armed Forces must act, because they have always been on the side of the people” which “has expressed its will,” said Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 presidential election.

The best outcome would be for Morsi to go willingly, he added.

But Morsi’s spokesman Ehab Fahmy told reporters: “Dialogue is the only way through which we can reach an understanding . . . The presidency is open to a real and serious national dialogue.”

Five people were killed when in clashes late on Sunday and another person died overnight from injuries, a health ministry official said.

Some protesters attacked the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Television pictures showed the building ablaze as dozens of people threw fire bombs and stones. Brotherhood supporters fired buckshot in a bid to repel the attackers. Later, automatic weapons fire was heard around the building.

Sunday’s turnout—on the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration—was described as the largest ever protest in the country’s history.

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