The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.
Protests against Morsi were planned in advance, after a petition drive reached twenty two million signatures for Morsi to resign and new elections be held immediately. The people's list of grievances is long and they insist there must be no compromise. Since Morsi was elected and took power a year ago he has dissolved any legislative body to provide checks and balances against him. The constitution for the new nation was drawn up mostly by the Muslim Brotherhood, and restricts the freedoms of religious minorities and women. Morsi enjoys power with no judicial oversight, and the people were angered in November when he appointed several government posts with Muslim Brotherhood members. While this has happened, no reforms to help the people recover from the turmoil created by the last mass protest have taken place. Prices have skyrocketed with unemployment.
Today in a show of strength Morsi addressed the people of Egypt and made the bold statement that he will not step down from power. In the statement he delivered, many times literally screaming that he was the president, he was in control and the people protesting against him were lowlifes; he demanded that all the people of Egypt should stand and protest for him, not against him, as he is the democratically elected leader of the nation. The country only has a future with him as the president. "Any and all change will happen within the scope of my legitimacy, and my legitimacy only." Morsi said with emotion in his speech.
The Morsi administration believes that they cannot be removed from power without the approval of the United States, which has supported Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. Money in the form of aid for the government and military supports Morsi. The Egyptian people know about the American support provided for Egyptian government, and they blame president Obama and the government for their problems as much as they do the president of Egypt. The first casuality in the unrest blanketing the country was an American killed on Sunday. Americans have been warned not to go to Egypt, and to stay away from the public protests if they are in Egypt. Women have also been targets for violence since the protests started.
Wednesday will be a day of final ultimatums and potential violence if the military makes good on their promise to see Morsi ousted. Many in Egypt don't believe this new uprising will end like the previous one. Even with hundreds killed two years ago, the people insisted on keeping the protest as peaceful as possible, only defending themselves when the police attacked them. This time the police are out of sight, the military has promised to support the protestors and Muslim Brotherhood promises to resist a military coup.
Egypt has some tough decisions to make.