Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Egypt's army ousts Morsi, who decries 'coup'

CAIRO — Egypt's first democratically elected president was ousted Wednesday by the military after barely a year in office, felled by the same kind of popular revolt that first brought him to power in the Arab Spring.

The armed forces announced it would install a temporary civilian government to replace Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who denounced the action as a "full coup" by the generals. They also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections.

Millions of anti-Morsi protesters in cities around the country erupted in scenes of joy after the televised announcement by the army chief. Fireworks burst over crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where men and women danced, shouting, "God is great" and "Long live Egypt."

Fearing a violent reaction by Morsi's Islamist supporters, the military sent troops and armored vehicles into streets of Cairo and elsewhere, surrounding Islamist rallies.

By the end of the night, Morsi had been taken into custody and blocked from all communications, the New York Times reported. Egyptian security forces had arrested at least 38 senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Saad el-Katatni, the chief of the group's political party, and others were being rounded up as well, the newspaper reported.

The U.S. government, increasingly concerned about instability in Egypt, expressed deep concern and kept the American Embassy in Cairo shuttered for the third consecutive day. The State Department significantly upgraded the warning level of a travel advisory to the country, urging "U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time because of the continuing political and social unrest."

Clashes erupted in several provincial cities when Islamists opened fire on police, with at least nine killed in the battles, security officials said.

The army's move is the second time in Egypt's 2½ years of turmoil that it has forced out the country's leader. In the first, it pushed out autocrat Hosni Mubarak after the massive uprising against his rule.

Its new move came after a stunning four-day anti-Morsi revolt fueled by public anger that Morsi was giving too much power to his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists and had failed to tackle the country's mounting economic woes.

This time, however, its removal of an elected figure could be more explosive. Beyond fears over violence, even some protesters are concerned whether an army-installed administration can lead to real democracy.

In Washington, President Barack Obama urged Egypt's military to "move quickly" to return authority to an elected civilian government. He said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the military's actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt — $1.5 billion a year in military and economic assistance.

Moments after the military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, spoke, Morsi said in a statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account that the military's measures "represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation," while urging "everyone to adhere to peacefulness and avoid shedding blood of fellow countrymen."

The army has insisted it is not carrying out a coup, but acting on the will of the people to clear the way for a new leadership.

In his speech, Gen. el-Sissi said the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, would step in as interim president until new elections are held. A government of technocrats would be formed with "full powers" to run the country.

Mansour, who was appointed to the court by Mubarak but elevated to the chief justice post by Morsi, will be sworn in today by judges of his court.

El-Sissi, the defense minister appointed by Morsi, promised "not to exclude anyone or any movement" from further steps. But he did not define the length of the transition period or when presidential elections would be held. He also did not mention any role for the military.

The constitution, drafted by Morsi's Islamist allies, was "temporarily suspended," and a panel of experts and representatives of all political movements will consider amendments. He did not say whether a referendum would be held to ratify the changes, as customary.

El-Sissi spoke while flanked by the country's top Muslim and Christian clerics as well as pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei and two representatives of Tamarod, or Rebel, the youth opposition movement that engineered the latest wave of protests with a petition campaign that collected more than 22 million signatures of Egyptians who want Morsi to step down.

"I call on all of you to stay in the squares to protect what we have won," one of the two Tamarod members, Mahmoud Badr, said in televised comments.

"I hope this plan is the beginning of a new launch for the Jan. 25 revolution when people offered their dearest to restore their freedom, dignity and social justice for every Egyptian," said ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Laureate and the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Seeking to avert a destabilizing backlash, el-Sissi warned that the armed forces and police will deal "decisively" with violence.

The military also took firm moves on the ground.

After 9:20 p.m., the Brotherhood's TV station went blank. Islamist TV networks that have been accused of inciting violence also went off the air and some of their prominent anchors have been arrested, according to security officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Shortly before el-Sissi went on the air, troops, commandos and armored vehicles deployed in cities around the country. In Cairo, they were stationed on bridges over the Nile River and at major intersections. They also surrounded rallies being held by Morsi's supporters — an apparent move to contain them.

At least 39 people have been killed in clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents since Sunday.

     
       
Comments
Oldsmar cheer coach faces new sexual battery charges

Oldsmar cheer coach faces new sexual battery charges

An Oldsmar cheerleading coach charged this week with sending explicit images to a minor now faces additional sexual battery charges.Victor Martin Valenty, 28, is accused of having "inappropriate sexual activity" with a 15-year-old at his home for mor...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Migrants denied access to lawyers, held in cells 23 hours a day, ACLU lawsuit alleges

Migrants denied access to lawyers, held in cells 23 hours a day, ACLU lawsuit alleges

After crossing the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum, 123 men have been detained for weeks, caged in prison cells for up to 23 hours per day and denied access to attorneys at a federal detention center in Sheridan, Oregon, a lawsuit filed Friday by t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18