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Egypt's army removes President Mohammed Morsi from power and suspended the constitution Egypt's army has removed President Mohammed Morsi from power, suspended the constitution and pledged new elections following mass protests, reported bbc.co.uk The army chief announced the move in a TV address. The head of the constitutional court is expected to be sworn in as interim leader on Thursday July 4. Mr Morsi's supporters denounced the move as a military coup and said he was being held in detention. His opponents celebrated through the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square. But officials from Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said its main rally in Cairo had come under attack by armed assailants and there were reports of deadly clashes elsewhere. US President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by the latest turn of events and called for a swift return to civilian rule. The military moved quickly after the TV address by army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who said Mr Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people". The military's move against the Muslim Brotherhood was well planned. Intervention must have been in the mind of the army chief, Gen Sisi, for some time. Muslim Brotherhood activists were arrested. Islamist TV stations were taken off the air. In the elections that followed the Arab uprisings of 2011, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and its offshoots across the region, did extremely well. That was because it was well organised, with a reputation for honesty, and took advantage of the failure of secular parties to organise themselves. But now the Egyptian army has inflicted a serious blow on the Muslim Brotherhood. One question is whether the Brotherhood will be forced back underground, as it was when it was banned in the years before 2011. The Brotherhood foreswore violence many years ago. But there are jihadist groups in Egypt that have not. The army has calculated it can handle any trouble. But it is playing for high stakes - the future of Egypt. Military vehicles were seen fanning out across the capital. Muslim Brotherhood media spokesman Gehad el-Haddad told the BBC that Mr Morsi had been put under house arrest and the "entire presidential team" was in detention. Mr Haddad's father, senior Morsi aide Essam el-Haddad, and Saad al-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's political wing, were among those held. State-run al-Ahram newspaper reported that arrest warrants had been issued for 300 leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. TV stations belonging to the Brotherhood went off air at the end of Gen Sisi's speech and state news agency Mena said managers at the movement's Misr25 channel had been arrested. Mr Haddad said a crowd of some 2,000 Morsi supporters had been shot at by men in civilian dress with machine guns at the main Brotherhood rally. A notice on Mr Morsi's Facebook page denounced the army for its "military coup". The statement asked Egyptian citizens - both civilians and military - to "abide by the constitution and the law and not to respond to this coup". But a number of clashes were reported in several Egyptian cities. At least 10 people were said to have been killed in the coastal cities of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh, as well as in the southern city of Minya. In Tahrir Square, thousands of anti-Morsi protesters celebrated with fireworks and honking car horns. One protester, Omar Sherif, told Agence France-Presse: "It's a new historical moment. We got rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood." The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Cairo says no-one knows what will happen next. The danger, he says, is that both sides will try to settle differences by bringing supporters on to the streets. The army has said it will not allow that to happen but, our correspondent says, it will not be easy to stop. Thu, Jul 4, 2013 AirGuideOnline ISSN 1544-3760
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