Clashes continue as Morsi remains defiant

The army plans to suspend the constitution if a power-sharing deal is not reached in 24 hours.

Egyptian demonstrators gather outside the presidential palace in Cairo during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 1, 2013. Egypt's armed forces warned that it will intervene if the people's demands are not met within 48 hours, after millions took to the streets to demand the president's resignation. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

CAIRO - Egypt's army has plans to push President Mohamed Morsi aside and suspend the constitution if he fails to strike a power-sharing deal with his opponents within 24 hours.

Egypt's first freely elected leader was still clinging to power with tens of thousands of people on the streets from rival factions.

There were some clashes between Morsi's Islamist supporters and those who want him forced out after only a year in office.

Military sources told Reuters that once a two-day deadline set by the head of the armed forces expires at 5pm on Wednesday, the military intended to install an interim council, composed mainly of civilians from different political groups and experienced technocrats, to run the country until an amended constitution was drafted within months.

Fighting between Mursi supporters and opponents broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the Cairo suburb of Giza, in Alexandria and in the town of Qalyubia, north of Cairo, security sources said. In Alexandria, soldiers intervened to separate rival factions.

After millions protested on Sunday, Sisi delighted Mursi's opponents by effectively ordering the president to heed the demands of the street. It took the president's office nine hours to respond with a statement indicating he would go his own way.

At least six ministers who are not Brotherhood members have tendered their resignations since Sunday's huge demonstrations, including the foreign minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr. The cabinet spokesman also resigned, the state news agency MENA said.

World powers are looking on anxiously, including the United States, which has long funded the Egyptian army as a key component in the security of Washington's ally Israel.

The United Nations Human Rights office called on Mursi to listen to the demands of the people and engage in a "serious national dialogue" but also said: "Nothing should be done that would undermine democratic processes."

A senior European diplomat said that if the army were to go further and remove the elected president, the international community would have no alternative but to condemn it.