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The New Egypt

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Millions Demand Morsi Resign As 16 Are Killed

July 1st 2013

Cairo burning US embassy

Opponents of embattled Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi raised the stakes on Monday, telling the Islamist president that he must step down by 5pm Monday. If he does not, the opposition said, chaos will likely follow, as the entire country descends into mass civil disobediance.

It is almost guaranteed that Morsi will not resign as a result of the ultimatum. He is convinced of his legitimacy as a democratic leader, and sees his opponents as part of a secular conspiracy that has long persecuted the Muslim Brotherhood to which he belongs. There is the possibility, however, that the opposition is attempting to force not Morsi's hand but the army's. The army is the ultimate power in Egyptian society, and should they choose to remove their support from Morsi, his fall would be inevitable. The army has already given Morsi a 48-hour window in which to tame the protests or they will restore order on their own.

The army has also pledged that it will not stand for violence against the protesters, and should Morsi respond with heavy-handed tactics, it could well mean the end of his regime. The opposition may be hoping that, rather than face social chaos, the army will force Morsi's resignation and bring about new elections. Though the demonstrations were largely peaceful, AP reports that as many as 10 people were killed, at least three of whom were shot after torching the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo.

Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, is widely blamed for a worsening economy and a religious power grab. Demonstrators pledged they will stay on the street until Morsi resigns, like former President Hosni Mubarak did before him. “If the Brothers think that we will give up and leave, they are mistaken,” said lawyer Hossam Muhareb as he sat with a friend on a sidewalk near the presidential palace. “They will give up and leave after seeing our numbers.” But Morsi gave no indication he has any intention to step down and his supporters promised a fight. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo was set ablaze and that protest organizers called on demonstrators to stay in the streets until Morsi left office.

Buoyed by the massive crowds, the National Salvation Front, an umbrella group of politicians and activists that leads the opposition to Mr. Morsi, released a statement calling on Egyptians to remain in city squares until Mr. Morsi agrees to step aside. "In the name of the Egyptian people, the National Salvation Front declares its full alignment with the people of Egypt in their efforts to bring down the brotherhood's and Morsi's regime," the statement read. "The National Salvation Front is confident that the Egyptian people will pursue their revolution until the realization of a peaceful transition of power." Morsi's supporters say any change in the presidency must come via the ballot box.

This article was reprinted from the website of World Jewish Daily.

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