With a tentative deadline of late Wednesday looming, we’re watching the news from Egypt — where massive protests continue and the military has said President Mohammed Morsi and his political opponents must strike a compromise by day’s end or the generals will come up with their own solutions.
Morsi and his supporters view the army’s demand as a de facto threat of a coup. On Morning Edition, NPR Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel said Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters have vowed to “face a coup with martyrdom.”
The anti-Morsi protesters who have flooded Egyptian cities’ streets in recent days say they won’t stop until the president, a democratically elected leader who has only been in office a year, steps down. The protesters say they “will pack the squares … pack the streets until he goes,” Leila reported. Among the things fueling the protesters’ discontent: the country’s deep economic problems.
The military, meanwhile, has said it will “sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”
The exact time when the army’s deadline arrives isn’t quite clear, but a “Morsi Timer” that’s popped up online puts it at 5 p.m. ET (11 p.m. in Cairo).
Among the early Wednesday headlines:
— “Morsi And Egyptian Generals Edge Closer To Conflict.” (The New York Times)
— “Egypt Tense As Army Deadline For Morsi Looms.” (BBC News)
— Morsi And Army “Pledge Lives In ‘Final Hours’ Showdown.” (Reuters)
News outlets that are live blogging include:
— The Guardian.
— BBC News.
A related post on the Parallels blog: “Who’s Who In The Egyptian Crisis.”
Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Morsi “Remains Defiant,” But Also Speaks Of Coalition:
In a statement on his official website, Morsi “remains defiant,” The Guardian writes, but also suggests there could be a transition plan “based on constitutional legitimacy” (according to Al-Jazeera’s translation).
Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. Army Statement Soon?
“Egypt’s military leadership has confirmed it has held talks with opposition figures and senior clerics, and that it will make a statement after the meeting,” The Guardian writes.
Update at 9:35 a.m. ET. Live Coverage:
Al-Jazeera is among several news outlets streaming live reports.
Update at 9 a.m. ET. Morsi Willing To Die:
The Egyptian president believes it would be better to defend Egypt’s democracy and die “standing like a tree” than to step aside, spokesman Ayman Ali has told Reuters.
Update at 8:05 a.m. ET. ElBaradei Reportedly Meets With Military:
According to Reuters, “Egyptian liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei met army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, two political sources said, hours before an army deadline for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests or quit. … ‘In the meeting, ElBaradei will urge the armed forces to intervene to stop the bloodshed,’ one opposition source said.”
ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
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