After months of tension, Egypt’s political crisis imploded on July 3, when the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was the only civilian president ever democratically elected in the Arab world’s largest country.
The coup marked one of the most important turning points in modern Egyptian history. The following is a chronology of key dates and events during the pivotal two weeks.
2. June 24: Egypt’s top military official suggests that the army will intervene unless there’s a peaceful resolution
The armed forces have the obligation to intervene to stop Egypt from plunging into a dark tunnel of conflict and infighting… It is the national and moral duty of the army… to prevent sectarian strife or the collapse of state institutions.
4. June 27: President Morsi marked one year in office by admitting mistakes and promising reforms
Political polarization and conflict have reached a stage that threatens our nascent democratic experience…The enemies of Egypt left no stone unturned in sabotaging the democratic experience… Enter elections if you want to change the government. Demonstrations are a means to express your opinions and not a tool to impose those opinions.
6. June 29: Mohamed ElBaradei, coordinator of the opposition coalition, urged Egyptians to protest
“We want another try at the ballot box… We gave him [Morsi] a driving license, and he couldn’t drive… The current revolution has erupted so that each one of us lives as human and be treated like human.”
8. June 29: Hamdeen Sabbahi, head of the Egyptian Popular Current Party, joined the call for the June 30 protest
We are with Islam and against the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. If the people enforce their wills in their peaceful millions, all state institutions, including the army, police and judiciary will take their side.
10. June 30: As millions took to the streets, Morsi rejected opposition calls for his resignation
There is no room for any talk against this constitutional legitimacy. There can be demonstrations and people expressing their opinions. But what’s critical in all this is the adoption and application of the constitution.
The protesters were from rival factions: most were anti-Morsi, some were pro-Morsi
12. July 1: Bolstered by 22 million petition signatures, the opposition demanded Morsi step down by 5 PM on July 2
There is no alternative other than the peaceful end of power of the Muslim Brotherhood and its representative, Mohammed Morsi…. [we urge] state institutions including the army, the police and the judiciary, to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds.
Video from May 2013 of protesters gathering petition signatures.
14. July 1: As demonstrations continued, General el Sisi gave Morsi 48 hours to answer protesters or else
If the demands of the people are not met within that time period [48 hours], then we will be obliged to fulfill our historical duty towards our country and the great people of Egypt to map out a future plan for the country in accordance to the demands of the Egyptian people and with the contribution of all aspects of the population, especially the youth who have proven themselves time and time again, and without exclusion of any political party.
16. July 1: The army made a statement rejecting accusations that it was planning a coup
The doctrine and culture of the Armed Forces do not allow the adoption of any ‘military-coup-based’ policies… The aim of the Armed Forces’ [previous] statement is to push all political parties nationwide to quickly find solutions for the current crisis and reach a formula of national compromise that complies with the demands of the Egyptian people.
18. July 1: Opposition spokesperson Mahmoud Badr welcomed el Sisi’s statement
The army responding to the demands of the people crowns our movement.
Journalist-turned-opposition spokesman Mahmoud Badr
20. July 1: The Salafi movement called for early presidential elections and an interim government
Despite our support for legitimacy, the interests of the nation and the perils of bloodshed should be taken into consideration…a balance has to be struck between interests and evils as well as between ability and incapacity… Legitimacy calls for preventing civil war and not just remaining in power.
22. July 2: A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman called on Morsi’s supporters to oppose military action
Seeking martyrdom to prevent this coup is what we can offer to the previous martyrs of the revolution.
24. July 2: Ahmed al Tayeb, the head of Sunni Islam’s highest authority, cheered the largely-peaceful nature of the protests
People have surprised and inspired the world through its elegant expression of their peaceful demands… Unity of the Egyptian people is above all… Division will lead the country to a catastrophe, and it must end.
The al-Azhar Mosque and Al-Azhar University is the world’s foremost institution for the study of Sunni theology and sharia.
26. July 2: Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II lauded the anti-government protestors
It is wonderful to see the Egyptian people taking back their stolen revolution in a peaceful way.
28. July 2: In a late-night speech, Morsi refused to step down
If the price for safeguarding legitimacy is my blood, then I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the cause of safety and legitimacy of this homeland.
30. July 3: Army chief el Sisi announced Morsi’s ouster, suspended the constitution, named an interim president, and called for new elections
The Egyptian Armed Forces first declared, is still declaring and will always declare that it stands distant from political forces. The Armed Forces, based on its insightfulness, has been called by the Egyptian people for help, not to hold the reins of power, yet to discharge its civil responsibility and answer demands of responsibility… The army has called for national dialogue, yet it was rejected by the presidency in the last moment.
Video from el Sisi’s announcement.
32. July 3: Morsi’s official Facebook page angrily denounced the “coup”
It is completely rejected by every free citizen of the country who struggled to turn Egypt into a civil, democratic society… Commanders and soldiers alike must adhere to the constitution and the law, and not respond to this coup which will drag Egypt backwards, and they must act peacefully and avoid taking part in shedding the blood of citizens.
A screenshot of the statement from Morsi’s Facebook Page.
34. July 4: Chief Justice Mansour was sworn in as interim president and applauded the protests
The most glorious thing about June 30 is that it brought together everyone without discrimination or division. I offer my greetings to the revolutionary people of Egypt.
Here’s his speech at the announcement.
36. July 5: Muslim Brotherhood supporters hold “Day of Rejection” protests
We declare our complete rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation. We refuse to participate in any activities with the usurping authorities.
A CCTV news report on the protests.
38. July 6: The opposition gets divided over who to support as interim Prime Minister.
The ultraconservative Salafi al Nour Party emerged as the political kingmaker, opposing ElBaradei.
ElBaradei was supported for the top spot by many of the more moderate-to-liberal opposition groups, and opposed by the Islamist factions who thought him too moderate.
40. July 6: the top leader in Sunni Islam demanded the release of political prisoners
I tell all those who contribute to bloodshed, this whole world is not worth a single drop of blood through unjust killing.
42. July 8: A Brotherhood spokesman claims the military opened fire on demonstrators at peaceful pre-dawn prayers
We have people hit in the head. We have bullets that exploded as they entered the body, cluttering organs and body parts. Every police force in the world understands how to disperse a sit-in. This is just a criminal activity targeting protesters.
Russia Today’s coverage of the story as it was breaking.
44. July 8: the Brotherhood’s political wing called for an uprising to protest the massacre
[The Freedom and Justice Party] calls on the great Egyptian people to rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armored vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people.
NBC Nightly News piece on the shootings by the military, which left at least 51 dead.
46. July 8: the Army claims that a “terrorist group” tried to storm the building
At dawn, an armed terrorist group tried to storm the Republican Guard [building]…, attacking army troops and police, which led to the death of one officer and left several conscripts injured, including six in critical condition.
48. July 8: Interior Ministry spokesman says security forces were working to safeguard freedom
The Egyptian police is the force of the people. The Egyptian police is out of the political equation. It can not be part of any political process in any way, shape or form.
49. July 9: Former Finance Minister Hazem el Beblawi named interim prime minister
He’s a liberal economist widely-respected in academic circles.
El Beblawi speaking at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in 2011.
51. July 9: the National Salvation Front (Egypt’s main opposition coalition) rejected Mansour’s transition plan. Tamarod, a fellow opposition movement, also rejected the plan:
It is impossible to accept the [constitutional declaration] because it founds a new dictatorship. We will hand over to the [military-installed caretaker] president an amendment to the [declaration].
France24 reports on the liberal opposition rejecting the transitional constitutional decree.
53. July 9: Muslim Brotherhood leaders reject the transition plan as unconstitutional
The cowards are not sleeping, but Egypt will not surrender. The people created their constitution with their votes.
Essam El-Erian, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, made the post on Facebook.
55. Here’s what all of this means:
56. The next year in Egypt could be even more turbulent…
Egypt’s military is back in charge, as it has been for all but one year since the 1952 revolution ousted the monarchy. It is propping up a jurist it anointed president. Its tanks are on the streets. It has closed down media outlets. It engaged in arbitrary justice in arresting scores of government and Muslim Brotherhood officials, including the nation’s only civilian president ever democratically elected. And now the Egyptian military has killed Egyptians.
Last year, citizens were on the streets protesting military rule, which lasted a troubled 17 months. The army must prove it is not out to assume power again—or simply protect its vast economic interests. If the second transition does not play out swiftly or justly, protesters who welcomed the move by the military could turn on it again.
57. … but it could also be more productive
The new constitution has been suspended. It must now either be amended or rewritten, a process likely to inflame core passions that divided Egyptians during the first transition. The last one was hastily written with little national input. A redo should not be rushed through. It needs to end the controversies, not spark new ones. … opposition leaders must abandon the culture of “me, me, me” in the name of fostering a sense of common good. They need to come together with plans that effectively address political grievances, personal insecurity and an imploding economy.
More info on Egypt’s complex political situation here.