Mansour sworn in as Egyptian head of state; Morsi held by army; at least 14 killed in clashes

Hundreds wounded as Morsi supporters and opponents clash across the country; Mansour says he plans to hold elections, does not say when; US to mull cutting off Egypt's military aid; Muslim Brotherhood leader, deputy arrested.

Protesters against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi wave 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Protesters against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi wave 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)

After a turbulent 24 hours in which Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army and hundreds of thousands rallied across the country, Constitutional Court chief Adli Mansour was sworn in as interim head of state on Thursday.
At least 14 people were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes between opponents and supporters of Morsi, following his removal late Wednesday. Morsi and several senior officials of his Muslim Brotherhood movement were being held at various locations by security services.
The Egyptian prosecutor's office also ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader, Mohamed Badie, and his deputy, Khairat el-Shater, judicial and army sources said.
Speaking at the Constitutional Court in Cairo after the ceremony, Mansour said he planned to hold new elections, but did not specify when.
He said Egypt had "corrected the path of its glorious revolution" through mass street protests calling for Morsi's resignation, which ultimately sealed his fate.
Eight were reported dead were in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh. Al-Anani Hamouda, a senior provincial security official, said two members of security forces were among those killed.
Three people died and at least 50 were wounded in fighting in the coastal city of Alexandria, state news agency MENA reported. Witnesses said that gunfire broke out as rocks and bricks flew. A woman stabbed in the stomach was among the dead, MENA said, along with two men hit by birdshot.
Three people were also killed in the southern Egyptian city of Minya, including two policemen, MENA said, adding that another 14 people had been wounded.
Dozens more were hurt in Fayoum, south of Cairo, where unidentified assailants broke into the local offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political wing, MENA said. The attackers looted the headquarters and set them on fire, it said.
Jubilance in Egypt over Morsi's fall
Thursday's newspapers greeted Morsi's overthrow as a triumph for Egyptians, even though the Brotherhood won several elections last year.
"Victory for the legitimacy of the people," declared the Al-Gomhuria state newspaper in its banner headline, printed over a photograph of hundreds of thousands of people crammed into Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of anti-Morsi protests.
The United Nations, the United States and other world powers did not condemn Morsi's removal as a military coup. To do so might trigger sanctions.
Army intervention was backed by millions of Egyptians, including liberal leaders and religious figures who expect new elections under a revised set of rules.
But as calm returned to the streets of Cairo and other cities, Islamists feared a clampdown that revived memories of their sufferings under the old, military-backed regime led by Hosni Mubarak, himself toppled by a popular uprising in 2011. At least 14 people were killed and hundreds wounded in street clashes. Television stations sympathetic to Morsi were taken off air.
The fall of Egypt's first elected leader after the Arab uprisings of 2011 raised questions about the future of political Islam, which only lately seemed triumphant. Deeply divided, Egypt's 84 million people find themselves again a focus of concern in a region traumatized by the civil war in Syria.
Straddling the Suez Canal and Israel's biggest neighbor, Egypt's stability is important for many powers.
The army put combat troops and tanks on the streets around a gathering of hundreds of Morsi supporters in Cairo. The military promised to keep order and Morsi said there should be no violence.
International reactions
US President Barack Obama, whose administration provides $1.3 billion a year to the Egyptian military, expressed concern about Morsi's removal and called for a swift return to a democratically elected civilian government. But he, too, stopped short of condemning a military move that could block US aid.
"During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts," he said.
Obama urged the new authorities to avoid arbitrary arrests and said US agencies would review whether the military action would trigger sanctions on aid. A senator involved in aid decisions said the United State would cut off its financial support if the intervention was deemed a military coup.
Much may depend on a strict definition of "coup."
Concerns over human rights have clouded US relations with Cairo, but did not stop aid flowing to Mubarak, or to Morsi.
The European Union, the biggest civilian aid donor to its near neighbor, also called for a rapid return to the democratic process. Foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement that should mean "free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution".
She stressed the need for inclusive politics but did not mention the constitution and elections already held in the past two years, whose results the armed forces have now cast aside.
The revolutionary youth
"Those in the meeting have agreed on a road map for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division," Sisi said.
Reflecting the hopes of the "revolutionary youth" who led the charge against Mubarak, only to see the electoral machine of the Brotherhood dominate the new democracy, the young man who proved Morsi's extraordinary nemesis said the new transitional period must not repeat the mistakes of the recent past.
"We want to build Egypt with everyone and for everyone," said Mahmoud Badr, a 28-year-old journalist who first had the idea two months ago for a petition calling on Morsi to resign. By last weekend, the "Tamarud - Rebel!" movement was claiming 22 million backers, many of whom were on the streets on Sunday.
Morsi's overthrow may have repercussions in Tunisia, whose uprising prompted Egyptians to take on Mubarak, the last in a 60-year line of military-backed rulers. Tunisia now has its own "Tamarud" movement, seeking to end Islamist government.
On Tahrir Square, cradle of Egypt's January 25 revolution in 2011, huge crowds in the hundreds of thousands set off fireworks and partied, chanting: "The people and the army are one hand."
The past four days have seemed to many like a fast-motion rerun of the 18 days that brought down Mubarak, when the army that had long backed him realized his time was up.
In addition to three TV channels that went off air, including one owned by the Brotherhood, the authorities arrested a staffer at Egypt's Al Jazeera Mubasher, owned by the Gulf state of Qatar. The emirate is seen as close to the movement.
Saudi Arabia, in contrast, has long been suspicious of the Brotherhood's international ambitions. King Abdullah sent a message of congratulations to the man replacing Morsi. The United Arab Emirates also welcomed the change in Cairo.
With Egypt's economy run ragged by the unrest of the past two and half years, Morsi had been helped by gifts and loans from Qatar. The new authorities may hope for help from other quarters. Notably, an IMF loan has long been stalled.
The official spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood said supporters were willing to become martyrs to defend Morsi.
But the Brotherhood also has an 85-year history of survival and may take a long view of whether it is better to draw in its horns and watch others try to reform Egypt's sclerotic economy.
A Brotherhood official, Gamal Heshmat, told Reuters: "There is absolutely no direction towards violence. The Brotherhood are not raised on violence. Their cause is a peaceful one, defending their rights, which is stronger than a military coup."