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A Day After Coup, A New & Uncertain Order in Egypt

By Ben Wedeman. Jethro Mullen and Chelsea J. Carter (CNN) | 7/4/2013, 9:21 a.m.
An uncertain new political order began to take shape in Egypt on Thursday, a day after the military deposed and ...
Egyptian soldiers deploy across the Jemaa bridge over the Nile River. (Photo by Ivan Watson/CNN).

As the deadline neared Wednesday, he offered to form an interim coalition government to oversee parliamentary elections and revise the constitution, which was enacted in January. But those actions failed to satisfy the generals.

Conflicting responses

The army's move against Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled him to office, provoked wildly conflicting reactions.

In Tahrir Square, the epicenter of two Egyptian upheavals, a vast gathering of Morsy's opponents erupted in jubilation and fireworks at El-Sisi's announcement Wednesday night.

"The crowd walked up to the barricades and started banging on them using rocks, sticks and even bare hands," said Sultan Zaki Al-Saud in a CNN iReport. "It sounded like thunder as the hollow barricades rang with every blow."

During his time in office, Morsy had squared off against Egypt's judiciary, the media, the police and even artists.

Egyptians are frustrated with rampant crime and a struggling economy. Unemployment remains high, food prices are rising and there are frequently electricity cuts and long fuel lines.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a leading opposition figure, said the plans announced by the military Wednesday were "a correction for the way of the revolution" that drove Mubarak from office.

But Abdoul Mawgoud Dardery, a former member of parliament allied with Morsy, criticized the military's decision to take matters into its hands.

"I don't know how can anyone with common sense support a military coup in a democracy," he said. Egyptians "will never recognize a coup d'etat."

Outside observers echoed that concern.

"Popular protests are the sign of a robust democracy. But the change in an elected government should be at the ballot box, not through mob violence," said Ed Husain, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Across the Nile River from Tahrir Square, Morsy supporters chanted, "Down with military rule," and "The square has a million martyrs."

A pro-Morsy protester in Cairo predicted demonstrators would stay "until Mohamed Morsy is once again president of Egypt."

"We're not violent, but at the end of the day we want peaceful change of power," El-Haddad, the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "But if democracy gets derailed every time that way, what other option is the people left with?"

'The world is looking'

Morsy had remained defiant.

"The world is looking at us today," he said Wednesday in a taped statement delivered to the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera. "We by ourselves can bypass the obstacles. We, the sons of Egypt, the sons of this country -- this is the will of the people and cannot be canceled."

Shortly after Morsy's statement aired, Al Jazeera reported its Cairo studios had been raided during a live broadcast and its presenter, guests and producers arrested.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled Morsy to office, said its broadcast outlets had been shut.

El-Haddad told CNN he couldn't confirm any arrests beyond those of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party chief, Saad el-Katatni, and its deputy, Rashad Al-Bayoumi.