Unfazed by mass protests demanding his ouster and an army ultimatum,embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has refused to quit,amid clashes today that killed 16 people and wounded 200 at the Cairo University here.
Egypt’s first democratically elected President Morsi,who looked increasingly isolated as many of his cabinet colleagues abandoned him,said he had been elected in a free and fair poll to lead the nation and intended to stick to his task.
In a televised address late last evening,61-year-old Morsi warned that the only alternative to respecting the constitutional legitimacy of the office was further bloodshed on the streets.
Morsi said he would give his life for Egypt and insisted he is the legitimate leader and will not give in to “violence and thuggery” by resigning. Meanwhile,the health ministry said 16 people were killed and 200 others injured in violence between pro-and anti Morsi supporters at Cairo University in the Giza district in the capital since last night.
“Sixteen people have been killed and 200 wounded in an attack on a demonstration supporting President Morsi next to Cairo University,” Egyptian state television reported. Millions of people took to the streets this week under the banner of Tamarod (Arabic word for Rebellion) movement which is driving the campaign with a petition of signatures seeking Morsi’s ouster and a snap election.
After Morsi’s speech,the Tamarod movement accused him of “threatening his own people”. In a counter-measure,hundreds of Islamists took to streets across country yesterday in support of Morsi,who just completed an year in office. In Port Said in Suez Canal region,hundreds protested against army’s Monday statement that gave President Morsi a 48-hour deadline to resolve the current impasse,describing it as a “coup against legitimacy.”
The army has asked Morsi to resolve the crisis within the deadline and assured the people that it will shed its blood to defend Egypt against “any terrorist,radical or fool”. In a provocative comment,a high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood official yesterday said the Egyptian people should stand ready to give their lives away in order to stop a coup from taking place.
“Seeking martyrdom to prevent this coup is what we can moffer to the previous martyrs of the revolution,” Mohamed al-Beltagui said in a statement. His statement refers to the more than 800 people who were killed in the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.