Tensions are running high in the Egyptian capital of Cairo as an army deadline to President Mohammed Morsi to stand down has passed.
Soldiers have reportedly taken over the state TV station and are moving to strategic positions like the airport and major utilities.
Morsi claims the army is staging a coup, while the army plans to remove the current government and install an interim regime to allow time to arrange a general election.
Top military officials are meeting with public servants and clerics to discuss the way forward and a statement is expected at any time.
Meanwhile Morsi is subject to a travel ban and is likely to be under house arrest or exiled.
The coup is gentlemanly and has widespread public backing following weeks of unrest and fatalities as Morsi tried to hold back the swell of opinion against him to hold on to power.
The likelihood of Morsi playing a future role in the government of Egypt is slim.
The US Pentagon has admitted a series of confidential telephone calls have taken place with Egypt’s military, but has declined to reveal details of the conversations due to the sensitive situation in Cairo.
Generally, the streets and squares are crowded with pro and anti Morsi demonstrators, but the army is standing back to avoid accusations of taking charge by force and to avoid injury to the crowds.
Morsi’s supporters are bidding to raise then tension by claiming the political turmoil is a coup.
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“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” said Essam al-Haddad, a Morsi adviser. “In this day and age, no military coup can succeed without considerable bloodshed. Who among you are ready to shoulder that blame?”
The military has demanded Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party should come to a deal with other politicians to form a new government.
Morsi has refused and told the nation he intends to stay in power.
Public protests have led to the confrontation. Morsi came to power after President Mubarek was overthrown in the rising of 2011, but is disliked and blamed for the country’s worsening economy and the attempted imposition of religious laws.
The army gave Morsi 48 hours to resolve the impasse – a deadline which passed during Wednesday, July 3, without any recognition by Morsi.