A protest banner from 2011 Egyptian revolution

Photograph by Ramy Raoof

The crisis in Egypt has inched further into chaos after president Morsi warned of confusion over its threat to intervene if the Egyptian government did not heed “the will of the people”.

The army denies the ultimatum amounts to a threat of a military coup, as they claim they would be acting with the support of the people, but it was a warning to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood that they remain the ultimate arbiters of power in the country. Newspapers across the political spectrum agree that this ultimatum from the army is a turning point in the protests.

Egypt is seeing clashes across the country, with millions of people reported to have taken to the streets both in opposition and in support of his government, with some commentators warning of a possible civil war erupting, as clashes between the groups have become increasingly violent.

This video shows the scale of the protests on Sunday in Cairo, as people swelled into Tahrir Square and the streets around it:

Yesterday a group of anti-Morsi protesters stormed and ransacked the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo in some of the worst violence of the protests so far.

The huge protests have been organised by an activist group called “Tamarod”, which translates as “rebel”. The group has managed to get more than 22 milion signatures for a petition demanding for Morsi’s resignation and calling a snap election. They complain that security has not been restored to Egyptian streets since Mubarak was toppled in 2011, and that Morsi is focused on Islamism rather than fixing the myriad of social and economic problems facing the country.

Egypt has been in an economic slump since the fall of Mubarak in 2011, with the country needing the IMF to help shore up their finances with a $4.8 billion loan. As a result of the economic problems, the country has seen growing issues with mass unemployment and poverty. Protesters contend that Morsi’s strong ties with the Muslim brotherhood has meant that the Islamist group has too much access to power, at a time when the country needs to be building independent governmental institutions to address these issues.

In response to these calls for his resignation, Morsi issues a statement saying that his government was continuing on its “pre-planned path to hold a comprehensive national reconciliation” and has urged against violence on the streets.

The scale of popular dissatisfaction with Morsi’s government has led to a number of high profile resignations in support of the protesters in recent days, which have only added to the chaos. Tourism minister Hisham Zaazou, communication and IT minister Atef Helmi, the minister for legal and parliamentary affairs Hatem Bagato, water minister Abdel Qawy Khalifa, and environment minister Khaled Abdel-Aal all tendered their resignations yesterday. Today foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr has resigned and prime minister Hesham Qandil has offered his resignation, but Morsi is yet to accept it.

Morsi also faces international pressure to calm the protests with the UN human rights office, the ONOCHR, echoing the calls of US President Barack Obama for the need to diffuse the escalating tension with a “serious national dialogue”.

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