Opposition to current Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi's government erupted this past Sunday with protests in various cities in Egypt, marking the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s seat in office. Millions of protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for Morsi’s removal.
As anger swept the streets, violence and chaos broke out as well. Reuters news agency reports that at least six people were killed and 600 wounded in clashes between the pro and anti- Morsi groups.
Although there was much hope for unity and peace in Egypt after Mubarak’s corruptive regime was ousted from power by popular revolt just two years ago, the opposite has in fact been seen. Egypt’s first freely elected president has unfortunately come to face a similar fate to that of his predecessor.
Anti-government protestors, headed by the main opposition group Tamarod (Arabic for "rebellion"), charged that the president has failed to fulfill promises to restore security, improve the economy, share power and institute social justice. They dismissed his first term, which he has yet to complete, as a failure and described him as a dictatorial leader.
Since Morsi took office, the Egyptian economy has steadily worsened, with the Egyptian pound losing nearly 20 percent of its value and industry crippled by fuel and electricity shortages.
Morsi, through a televised speech in a bid to upstage massive demonstrations, addressed these mistakes, mostly putting the blame on outside factors as well as the country’s state asserting that the current negative environment has stifled progress.
Amongst an audience of senior officials and supporters at the Cairo International Conference Centre, Morsi asserted, "From day one, I have been facing conspiracies one after another to topple me as Egypt's first freely and democratically elected president.”
"How can the best of leaders make major achievements in such a poisonous atmosphere? In just one year, there have been up to 4,900 strikes and 22 calls for a million protests. The ex-associates of the ousted regime are plotting for the collapse of the state," Morsi added.
The opposition, in turn, has dismissed Morsi’s speeches and calls for dialogue, saying that they are mere rhetoric and are void of sincerity.
Supporters of Morsi, however, were full of praise for his first year in office, insisting that he has strengthened civilian rule in Egypt and done his best to manage a falling economy.
The recent Sunday clashes between the two opposing sides clearly demonstrate the growing polarization of the country and the need for immediate intervention.
The Egyptian military announced Monday that President Morsi had just 48 hours to reach an agreement with the people, or face political transition by military intervention.
According to the Egyptian constitution, the chief justice of the nation’s high court has the power to step in to oversee a transition administration if a sitting president loses the confidence of the public.