The uprising that brought the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was not a coup but “a big revolution,” business and political leader Ahmed Said tells Newsmax TV.
“The number of people who went out in the streets was described as the highest number of protesters recorded ever in the history of mankind going out to protest against the ruler or against a regime,” Said, chairman of the pro-Western opposition Free Egyptians Party, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
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He compared the millions of protesters throughout Egypt after Morsi’s fall on Wednesday — more than 22 million people had signed petitions calling for him to resign — to the two million who turned out in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demonstrate against President Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring uprisings of January 2011.
“The numbers on the 30th of June is actually more, quadruple the numbers, that went out on January 2011,” Said says. “Both were against legitimate rulers who were elected. In both cases, the army intervened — and in both cases the army ousted the president.
“The only difference here is that President Morsi would never just abdicate the way Mubarak did, because we know very well that he is not the master of his own decisions and that they wanted the country to enter into whatever it would take in order for the Muslim Brotherhood to remain in power.”
On Friday, nearly 20 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a deadly gunfight that erupted in Cairo, after thousands of Morsi supporters marched on the Republican Guard headquarters during mass rallies against the Islamist's ouster.
The Morsi backers had streamed towards the Guards headquarters on foot from a Muslim Brotherhood rally that attracted tens of thousands at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo.
They accused the military of conducting a brazen coup against Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, after millions called for his ouster on the June 30 anniversary of his first turbulent year in power.
Adly Mansour, 68, the chief justice of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, was installed as interim president — and Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi suspended the country’s constitution and parliament when he announced on television that Morsi had been deposed.
Morsi and several members of the Muslim Brotherhood have since been arrested by military forces.
“The people came out actually to demonstrate against a regime that had been very dictatorial since the minute it took over,” Said tells Newsmax. “We are now witnessing a road map that will give the Egyptians the right to form a new constitution, which is different from the constitution that was actually stolen by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
More broadly, however, the protests represent a repudiation of an ideology, not a particular leader.
“The Egyptians revolted in January 2011 in order to get rid of a regime, but as a matter of fact they revolted on the 30th of June to get rid of an ideology, which is something that did not happen in the world before,” Said says. “Egyptians have proved they understand very well what this fanatic Muslim Brotherhood is all about.
“They cannot accept their ideology, they cannot accept mixing the politics with the religion — and this is something they have announced to the whole world: that we cannot accept religious rule.
“Egypt is a country that has always been moderate,” Said continues. “Egypt is a country that has Muslim, that has Christians, that has Jews — and has been at peace for thousands of years, so the Egyptians went out on the streets to say that we don't care for this ideology, that we want to get rid of this ideology.
“We might be religious. We might be the people you see people going to pray in the mosques, but the idea of mixing politics and religion is out of the question — and this is exactly what this revolution was all about.”
Said attacked the Obama administration for is unbridled support of Morsi during his yearlong reign.
“The American administration is not very excited about what is going on, but they never really came and talked out to the world when President Morsi stole the constitution, when President Morsi bombarded the constitution, when Morsi gave himself the power to make all the decisions, when Morsi protected an upper house that was manufacturing a lot of legislation that was only in the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I don't know where the United States was when they were doing that.”
And he does not believe that any new Egyptian government will break the country’s peace treaty with Israel.
“During the time of Mubarak, we were respecting the peace treaty with Israel,” Said tells Newsmax. “During the time of Morsi, we were respecting the peace treaty.
“Egypt is a country of institutions. We do not just refuse or decline any peace treaty just because there is a new regime. We have to respect the international treaties that we have — and I don't think the new coming regime is by any means fanatic against Israel.
“Egyptians want to live in peace and they will respect the peace treaty,” Said adds. “We are for the peace treaty, and we will always respect it.”
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