Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted Wednesday by the country's military in a coup after the public expressed discontent with the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood leader and called for him to step down. Unrest in the country had been growing as Egyptians became increasingly frustrated by deteriorating economic conditions following the 2011 revolution, and millions participated in four days of protests.
The military said it couldn't ignore calls from the Egyptian public to unseat Morsi. It issued an ultimatum giving 48 hours for the president to come to terms with the protesters, and when he declined to do so, removed him from office. The military suspended the constitution and installed the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court as a transitional leader as part of a plan "to achieve a strong, coherent Egyptian society that doesn't alienate of its sons and movements and end the state of struggle and divisions."
President Obama said the United States encourages the country to address the grievances of the people, but said in a statement that he is "deeply concerned" by the removal of Morsi and suspension of the constitution:
I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters.
He also called for a review of U.S. assistance to the Egyptian government.
Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president after winning a June 2012 election. His Muslim Brotherhood party called for protests against the military government in a "Friday of Rejection," where supporters of the president would voice their opposition to Morsi's forced ouster. Many of those calling for the president's reinstatement are Islamists and say that the military rule will return the regime of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to power. They also say the military takeover threatens democracy in the country, because Morsi was fairly elected.
The former president is currently being held by the military at an undisclosed location, and the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court will remain in office until new elections are held.
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