In Egypt: Elation and Caution Follow 'Popular Coup'

Judge Adly Mansour, head of Egypt’s supreme constitutional court, was sworn in as interim president on Thursday following the dramatic ouster—or what some are calling a ‘popular coup’—of the nation’s elected president, Mohammed Morsi, on Wednesday.

In remarks following being sworn in, Mansour—who was appointed to the post by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) who declared the end of Morsi’s rule—said that he would protect the ideals of the revolution, maintain respect for the rule of law, and help forge a government that would include all Egyptians, including members of Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The revolutionaries of Egypt are everywhere and we salute them all,” he said, “—those who prove to the world that they are strong enough, the brave youth of Egypt, who were the leaders of this revolution.”

“The ultimate goal must be to subdue the military to civilian will, as per democracy’s basic tenets – but also to oppose a president and a group that has attempted to put itself above constitutional-based accountability.” – Sara Khorshid, Egyptian journalist

“The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded,” he continued, “and if they responded to the invitation, they will be welcomed.”

Meanwhile, the ousted Morsi, along with his top aides, is believed to be in the military’s custody at an army barracks in Cairo.

Deeper concern is surfacing, however, following reports that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are now being targeted for arrest. As the Association Press reported, and Reuters confirmed, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, has been arrested by security officials and as many as 300 other party members may be targeted.

Such developments were condemned by those worrying that ill-treatment and marginalization of MB members would only further destabilize the political situation and speak ruin for the democratic ideals espoused by those calling for an inclusive and peaceful transition.

The overthrow on Wednesday was greeted with jubilation by the hundreds of thousands who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding the elected leader, who they accused of executive overreach and mismanagement, to step down.

That the popular movement calling for Morsi’s removal—which contained a diverse set of consituences opposed to the president—was ultimately backed by the powerful military council has gone a long way to complicate how many, both in Egypt and around the world, are interpreting what is happening there.

Many in the West were quick to call the takeover a coup d’etat, while others stressed it was a clear continuation of the same revolution that first took root in early 2011 and ousted the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak.

What follows is a snapshot of those reactions and some of the necessary context and perspective with which to view the ongoing events in Egypt.

Tweets by @sharifkouddous