Egypt’s defense minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi issued a statement on behalf of the armed forces Monday, July 1, warning the politicians they had 48 hours to “meet the people’s demands” and agree on an inclusive road map for the way ahead. He did not define “the people” either as the millions who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as president or the masses demanding his resignation. The army chief’s statement acted as a warning to the politicians in both camps that if they failed to agree, the army would step in and assume power once again.
The military statement went on to say that the Egyptian army will not get involved in politics but had decided to act in view of the real danger facing national security.
President Barack Obama also voiced his concern about the situation in Egypt and called on President Morsi to respond to opposition demands and work with the protest leaders.
The morning after millions of Egyptians demonstrated fairly peacefully Sunday night, June 30, for and against President Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood rule, a mob Monday stormed and ransacked Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo and set it on fire. The building was empty at the time.
In the early stage of the opposition uprising, the Brotherhood more or less avoided direct street clashes in the 20 or so Egyptian towns where protests were staged, even though they and their premises were often under assault.
There were two reasons for this restraint: