July 3, 2013

Head of ousted president's party, deputy, arrested in Egypt

The Associated Press

CAIRO — A security official says the head of the Muslim Brotherhood political party and the Brotherhood's deputy chief have been arrested.

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Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi shout slogans and wave a national flags in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday. The Arabic says, "leave."

The Associated Press

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An Egyptian opposition protester is beaten by supporters of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, as a main raises a brick overhead, in downtown Damietta, Egypt, on Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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The security official said Saad el-Katatni, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, and Rashad Bayoumi, one of two deputies of the Brotherhood's top leader, were arrested early Thursday in connection with an escape from prison during the 2011 uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The arrest came hours after the head of the armed forces ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood, who is also wanted in the case. More than 30 Brotherhood members escaped from prison in January 2011.

A statement on the Egyptian president's office Twitter account has quoted Morsi as calling measures taken by the military Wednesday "a full coup."

The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution.

Morsi was quoted as saying those measures "represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation."

Army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, said a government of technocrats will be appointed to run the country during a transition period he did not specify.

An aide of Morsi, Ayman Ali, said the former leader has been moved to an undisclosed location. He gave no details.

Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi's ouster. Fireworks lit the Cairo night sky. Morsi supporters elsewhere in the city shouted "No to military rule."

The country's military had moved to tighten its control of key institutions earlier Wednesday, sending troops backed with armored vehicles to the heart of Cairo and slapping a travel ban on Morsi and top allies in preparation for the push to remove the Islamist president with the expiration of an afternoon deadline.

Just before the military's deadline expired, Morsi repeated a vow not to step down, and one of his top advisers decried that Egypt is experiencing a military coup.

For the second time in 2½ years of political upheaval, the powerful army had positioned itself to remove the country's leader. But this time, it would be ousting a democratically elected president, the first in Egypt's history – making its move potentially explosive.

Soon after the deadline passed, a military helicopter circled over the anti-Morsi crowds in Cairo's central Tahrir Square, which was transformed into a sea of furiously waving Egyptian flags. "Leave, leave," they chanted to Morsi, electrified as they waited to hear of an army move. After nightfall, fireworks went off and green lasers flashed over the crowd.

Millions were in the main squares of major cities nationwide, demanding Morsi's removal, in the fourth day of the biggest anti-government rallies the country has seen, surpassing even those in the uprising that ousted against his autocratic predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

The troops, including commandos and in full combat gear, deployed just as darkness fell across much of the Egyptian capital at key facilities, on bridges over the Nile River and at major intersections. They also surrounded rallies being held by Morsi's supporters – an apparent move to keep them contained if a final move on the president is made.

(Continued on page 2)

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Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a rally in Nasser City, Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday. The green card with Arabic reads, "stay where you are."

The Associated Press

  


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