Instability in Egypt reached new levels Monday morning, as military leaders gave President Mohamed Morsi an ultimatum to resolve the political crisis before they intervene.
The threat of a coup is just the latest episode in Egyptian turmoil after a weekend of protests, which resulted in at least 16 deaths and a bloody skirmish outside the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
So, what's causing these latest protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood? The New York Times:
Clashes between Mr. Morsi's opponents and supporters broke out in several cities around the country, killing at least seven people — one in the southern town of Beni Suef, four in the southern town of Assiut and two in Cairo — and injuring hundreds. Protesters ransacked Brotherhood offices around the country.
Demonstrators said they were angry about the lack of public security, the desperate state of the Egyptian economy, and an increase in sectarian tensions. But the common denominator across the country was the conviction that Mr. Morsi had failed to transcend his roots in the Brotherhood, an insular Islamist group officially outlawed under Mr. Mubarak that is now considered Egypt's most formidable political force.
(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Already, 10 ministers have resigned from office, and protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square this weekend were the biggest since at least 2011, when demonstrators took to the streets to oust Hosni Mubarak, according to the BBC. Some are even calling the new protests the largest in Egypt's history.
On Monday, President Obama responded to the protests and spurts of violence, saying he is "concerned about what's happening in Egypt," but he wouldn't comment on whether Morsi should leave office, which is one of the demonstrators' demands. Choosing Egypt's leaders, Obama said, "is not up to" the United States.
"Our commitment to Egypt has never been to any individual or party," Obama said at a press conference in Tanzania. "Our commitment has been to a process."
With the country's new democratic elections, Obama said that Egypt must work at improving its institutions and hearing the concerns of the people. But Obama also criticized protesters after reports came out than many women were the target of attacks.
"We are all concerned about what's happening in Egypt," Obama said. "Assaulting women does not qualify as peaceful protests."
The president called on all parties in Egypt to show restraint, however, his remarks came just before the military's announcement.
(AP Photo/ Amr Nabil)