Egypt celebrates Morsi's ousting

Morsi and his presidential team are reportedly under house arrest.

Millions of Egyptians celebrate after President Mohamed Morsi was toppled by the army on 3 July 2013. Picture: AFP

CAIRO - Egypt's interim president will be sworn in later today just hours after the ousting of President Mohamad Morsi.

Late last night the Egyptian army deposed the president after only a year in office.

It comes after four days of demonstrations calling for Morsi to step down.

Bloody clashes have left more than 50 people dead since Sunday.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement is calling it a military coup, but protestors deny this.

The next 24 hours are critical.

Morsi is being held by the army while members of his Muslim Brotherhood party are being rounded up and arrested.

The army have threatened to clear all pro-Morsi protests and have even sent in troops to monitor hotspots.

Meanwhile, celebrations continue in Tahrir Square and other key points around the country.

The mood is festive as the head of the Constitutional Court will be sworn in as interim president later today.

REACTION

American President Barack Obama says he is deeply concerned with developments and has ordered a review of US aid to the country.

Obama has urged the Egyptian military to take a measured approach and return the country swiftly to civilian rule.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon understands Egyptians have "deep frustrations" but expressed concern over the ousting.

Ban believes that "military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern," said deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey.

ARMY TAKEOVER

Egypt's armed forces overthrew Morsi on Wednesday and announced the political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders.

As a military deadline for Morsi to yield to mass protests passed, top army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on television that the president had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people."

Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, al-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.

The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held.

"Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division," Sisi said.

After he spoke, hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags.

Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.

But a statement published in Morsi's name on his official Facebook page after Al-Sisi's speech said the measures announced amounted to "a full military coup" and were "totally rejected".

Morsi and his presidential team are reportedly under house arrest at the Republican Guard Barracks.

"TERRORISTS AND FOOLS"

Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Morsi's Islamist policies; earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined "The Final Hours". They said they were willing to shed blood against "terrorists and fools".

Armoured vehicles took up position outside the state broadcasting headquarters on the Nile River bank, where soldiers patrolled the corridors and non-essential staff were sent home.

In another show of force, several hundred soldiers with armoured vehicles staged a parade near the presidential palace, and security sources said Morsi and the entire senior leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood were banned from leaving the country.

Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.

In a last-ditch statement a few minutes before the deadline, Morsi's office said a coalition government could be part of a solution to overcome the political crisis. But opposition parties refused to negotiate with him and met instead with the commander of the armed forces.

The country's two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institute and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army's roadmap in speeches as did the main liberal opposition leader, Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

(Additional reporting by Reuters)