(UPI) — Egyptian military authorities said President Mohamed Morsi has been ousted and the Egyptian Constitution has been suspended pending early elections.
Cheers broke out among massive crowds of protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in other Egyptian cities after military officials announced the development in an address televised nationwide.
State media reported opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei will join with Coptic Church and Sunni Muslim leaders in publicly presenting a road map for the country’s future, al-Jazeera said.
The military announcement said the chief justice of Egypt’s constitutional court will act as head of state on an interim basis.
Egyptian army divisions were deployed in Cairo and other cities Wednesday to prevent violence after Morsi was removed from the palace, media reports said. In what Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party called a military coup, tanks were deployed in the capital’s streets and soldiers beefed up their presence in other cities after a 48-hour ultimatum delivered by the army failed to secure Morsi’s resignation.
“The president is no longer able to make any political decisions now and a decision has been taken to prevent leaders loyal to the current regime from traveling overseas until the General Command of the Armed Forces are finished formulating their expected statement,” the Arabic language daily al-Ahram said.
At the U.S. State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday conditions in Egypt were fluid and it was not possible to confirm a coup had been staged.
“We do … remain very concerned about what we’re seeing on the ground,” Psaki said.
The army enforced a state of emergency and imposed a travel ban on Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood officials, barring them from leaving the country, al-Ahram reported.
Soldiers were deployed inside the state television building in the capital, waiting to receive the order to broadcast a statement from the armed forces to the nation later in the evening, Israel’s Channel 10 and Channel One reported. The army surrounded protesters in Tahrir Square and beefed up its presence in other cities, while millions of Egyptians waited for the army’s broadcast.