Egypt’s controversial president Mohammed Morsi said on Wednesday that he is prepared to fight to the death for nigh-unilateral power in the country as it tailspins into chaotic protest and martial law.
The state’s media was apparently taken over by the military this week, with a call to arms issued. Military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was quoted on Facebook as saying that he would be proud to die instead of subjecting Egyptians to threats or terror.
“We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” the statement, titled “The Final Hours,” said. “Long live Egypt and its proud people.”
In a televised speech, Morsi seemed to accept the challenge. “I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland,” he said.
Thousands of protesters took to he streets yet again to demand that Morsi step down and call for a special election to replace him. So far, about 16 people have been killed in these protests with 200 or more injured.
The military has given President Morsi until about 5pm local time to meet the demands of the protesters. A meeting between top officials has been called, but Morsi’s administration has branded the protest a military coup.
Morsi is still supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, but even among his supporters, his power and influence seem to be weakening.
“We find ourselves faced with the necessity of convincing the president to accept a referendum on early presidential elections,” said one presidential supporter. “This is what we hope will be reached in the next few hours.”
Mohammed Morsi has been steeped in controversy since late 2012 when he granted himself unlimited powers which he said were necessary to “protect” the nation. Many Egyptians protested this move as a signal of dictatorship. Egypt’s military, meanwhile, has sides with the protesters and have promised to build a “road map” for the country without Morsi. They have denied that they are engaged in a military coup, and say they have no interest in running the country.
[Image via: Essam Sharaf]