Morsi flouts Egyptian army's ultimatum

Morsi Flouts Army's Ultimatum

Morsi Flouts Army's Ultimatum

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July 2 2013 8:27 PM

Morsi Flouts Army's Ultimatum

Egyptian protesters calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi gather in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on July 2, 2013 as laser lights (L) directed at the government building show Morsi's name crossed out. Morsi has resisted demands from the military to comply with the protestors.

Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

As anti-Morsi protests in Tahrir Square grow rowdier, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took to television today to defy the Egyptian army's order to comply with the demonstrators or face military intervention. The New York Times reports:

In an emotional and rambling speech broadcast live on state television that extended past midnight into Wednesday morning, Mr. Morsi called on both his supporters and opponents to put aside their disagreements and unite behind him, and hinted strongly that the country could fall into chaos if they did not.
“I am the president of Egypt,” Mr. Morsi said, invoking again and again what he called his constitutional mandate to remain in power.
“The remnants of the former regime, they are fighting against our democracy,” he said, referring to the toppled government of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. “If they come back to the people they will be rejected. They are accustomed to corruption, rigging elections sucking dry the blood of the people.” He added: “They cannot thrive in democracy."

The exact nature of the army's threatened intervention is unknown, though as the Times notes, many see it as a "prelude to a military coup."

Mark Joseph Stern covers courts and the law for Slate.