Egyptians rose up over the course of 18 days in early 2011 and forced the ouster of long-time president Hosni Mubarak. Two-and-a-half years later, the streets were again filled, this time with protesters demanding the exit of his successor, Mohammad Mursi, after a period of economic turbulence and rising crime. On July 3, Egypt’s military removed Mursi from power, replacing him with the chief justice of the supreme constitutional court and suspending the Islamist-backed constitution.
Here are some key events from more than two years of turmoil and transition in Egypt:
January 25-February 11, 2011
Egyptians stage nationwide demonstrations against nearly 30 years of Mubarak’s rule. Hundreds of protesters are killed as Mubarak and his allies try to crush the uprising.
Mubarak steps down and the military takes over. The military dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, meeting two key demands of protesters.
November 28 2011-February 15, 2012
Egypt holds multistage, weekslong parliamentary elections. In the lawmaking lower house, the Muslim Brotherhood wins nearly half the seats, and ultraconservative Salafis take another quarter. The remainder goes to liberal, independent and secular politicians. In the largely powerless upper house, Islamists take nearly 90 per cent of the seats.
May 23-24, 2012
The first round of voting in presidential elections has a field of 13 candidates. The Brotherhood’s Mohammad Mursi and Ahmad Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak, emerge as the top two finishers, to face each other in a runoff.
The Supreme constitutional Court orders the dissolving of the lower house of parliament.
Egyptians vote in the presidential runoff between Mursi and Shafiq. Mursi wins with 51.7 per cent of the vote.
Mursi takes his oath of office.
Members of liberal parties and representatives of Egypt’s churches withdraw from the 100-member assembly writing the constitution, protesting attempts by Islamists to impose their will.
Mursi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament. The move sparks days of protests.
Islamists in the constituent assembly rush to complete the draft of the constitution. Mursi sets a December 15 date for a referendum.
More than 100,000 protesters march on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution. The next day, Islamists attack an anti-Mursi sit-in, sparking street battles that leave at least 10 dead.
December 15-December 22 In the two-round referendum, Egyptians approve the constitution, with 63.8 per cent voting in favour. Turnout is low.
January 25, 2013
Hundreds of thousands hold protests against Mursi on the two-year anniversary of the start of the revolt against Mubarak, and clashes erupt in many places.
A mob attacks the main cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Church as Christians hold a funeral and protest there over four Christians killed in sectarian violence the day before. Pope Tawadros II publicly blames Mursi for failing to protect the building.
Millions of Egyptians demonstrate on Mursi’s first anniversary in office, calling on him to step down.
Huge demonstrations continue, and Egypt’s powerful military gives the president and the opposition 48 hours to resolve their disputes, or it will impose its own solution.
Military officials disclose main details of the army’s plan if no agreement is reached: replacing Mursi with an interim administration, cancelling the Islamist-based constitution and calling elections in a year. Mursi defends his legitimacy and vows not to step down.
Egypt’s military chief announces that Mursi has been deposed, to be replaced by the Chief Justice of the Supreme constitutional Court until new presidential elections. No time frame is given. Muslim Brotherhood leaders are arrested. Tens of thousands of Mursi supporters remain camped out in two mass sit-ins in Cairo’s streets.
Supreme constitutional Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour is sworn in as Egypt’s interim president.
Mansour dissolves the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament as Morsi’s supporters stage mass protests demanding his return.
Egyptian soldiers open fire on pro-Mursi demonstrators in front of a military base in Cairo, killing more than 50. Each side blames the other for starting the clash.
Mansour appoints economist Hazem Al Beblawi as prime minister and opposition leader Mohamed AlBaradei as Vice-President. A military announcement backs up the appointments.
Millions pour into the streets of Egypt after a call by the country’s military chief for protesters to give him a mandate to stop “potential terrorism” by supporters of Mursi. Five people are killed in clashes. Prosecutors announce Mursi is under investigation for a host of allegations including murder and conspiracy with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Security forces and armed men in civilian clothes clash with Mursi supporters outside the larger of the two major sit-ins in Cairo, killing at least 80 people.
The EU’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton holds a two-hour meeting with detained Mursi at an undisclosed location. She is one of a number of international envoys, including US Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to visit Egypt to attempt to resolve the crisis.
Egypt’s presidency says that diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the standoff between the country’s military-backed interim leadership and the Muslim Brotherhood have failed.
Egyptian security forces announce that they will besiege the two sit-ins within 24 hours to bar people from entering.
Authorities postpone plans to take action against the camps, saying they want to avoid bloodshed after Mursi supporters reinforce the sit-ins with thousands more protesters.
Riot police backed by armoured vehicles and bulldozers clear two sprawling encampments of supporters of Mursi, sparking clashes that kill at least 638 people. The presidency declares a monthlong state of emergency across the nation as Vice-President Mohammad Al Baradei resigns in protest over the assaults.
The Interior Ministry authorises police to use deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions after Islamists torch government buildings, churches and police stations in retaliation against the crackdown on their encampments.
Heavy gunfire rings out throughout Cairo as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters clash with armed vigilantes in the fiercest street battles to engulf the capital since the country’s Arab Spring uprising. The clashes kill 173 people nationwide, including police officers.
Egyptian authorities announce they are considering disbanding the Muslim Brotherhood group.
Mursi goes on trial but the case is adjourned for at least a month.
“How did the revolution start? The Americans worked on it since, 2005, and I had a feeling then.”
Former President Hosni Mubarak in a 2013 recording by his doctor
“Egypt with all its forces will not accept under any circumstances to move backward. The people of Egypt have sacrificed the blood of their children, stability and development to build their new state, and we all choose democratic means as the only solution and peaceful way to manage our differences.”
Former president Mohammad Mursi, hours before he was ousted from office on July 2, 2013
“As you know, I saw that there were peaceful ways to end this clash in society, there were proposed and acceptable solutions for beginnings that would take us to national consensus. It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear. I cannot bear the responsibility for one drop of blood.”
Egypt’s interim Vice-President Mohammad Al Baradei on resigning on August 4, 2013
“I ask honourable Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to give us a mandate to face potential violence and terrorism. “I want Egyptians to show the whole world, as they did on June 30, that they have their own willpower and decisions.”
Egypt’s Defence Minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi on July 24, 2013
“No... No, I will return to my office and my work at the constitutional court.”
Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour in Kuwait on November 19, 2013
Hosni Mubarak, former president of Egypt
Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s third and longest-serving president, stepped down on February 11, 2011, after an 18-day-long mass uprising aimed at removing him from power. Mubarak’s resignation followed mass protests in Egypt against his 30-year rule, and came a day after he surprised the people of his country by refusing to resign. The former president succeeded Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated on October 6, 1981 while attending a military parade to commemorate the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Mohammad Mursi, ouster president of Egypt
Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown by the army on July 3 after massive nationwide protests calling for his removal on the first anniversary of his rule. He was born in 1951 and was educated at Cairo University, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering. From 1975-76, Morsi served in the Egyptian military, in the chemical warfare department. In 1979 Mursi joined the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group often cracked down on by the Egyptian government, while he was studying in the United States.
General Abdel Fatah Al Sissi, head of Egyptian military
General Abdel Fatah Al Sissi was the architect of the military intervention in Egypt’s worsening political crisis and was little known outside the army when he was appointed Mohammad Mursi’s defence minister in August 2012. A career soldier, Al sissi was head of military intelligence and the youngest member of the 19-strong Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Born in 1954, he was a relative youngster in a military dominated by elderly officers with extensive privileges and a traditional view of their place in Egyptian political life.
Mohammad Al Baradei, former interim Vice-President of Egypt
Mohammad Al Baradei, a former head of the UN nuclear watchdog and a Nobel peace laureate, resigned after just weeks in office as Egypt’s Vice-President for foreign affairs following a deadly police crackdown on supporters of deposed president Mohammad Mursi. Now 71, Al Baradei left Egypt 30 years ago to work for the UN. He returned to Cairo in 2010 after resigning from the International Atomic Energy Association. He is widely respected in Egypt and has received the country’s highest honour, the Nile Shas, in 2006.
1.9% GDP growth
$3,290 GDP per head
9.9% Inflation in 2013
-12.9% Budget balance as a percentage of GDP
$400m monthly loss in tourism revenue
3,500 Estimated number of Egyptians killed since January, 2010.
2010 14 million
2013 10.4 million
2,144 in 2013
774 in 2010
Kidnap for ransom
412 in 2013
107 in 2010
2,807 in 2013
233 in 2010
21,166 in 2013
4,973 in 2010
After a stunning reversal in which the army seized upon a tide of public discontent to overthrow freely elected President Mohammad Mursi, the powerful state apparatus appears to have all but neutralised the Muslim Brotherhood to which he belongs. Not only that. Even as the army-backed government promises to shepherd Egypt towards democracy, its plans for a new political transition speak of a deep entrenchment of the old order that ran Egypt under veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
In the space of a few weeks, security forces have arrested the Brotherhood’s leaders and killed its supporters by the hundreds in the streets. Meanwhile, a committee appointed without debate has proposed constitutional amendments that would open the way for a political comeback by Mubarak-era officials. The prospect of financial meltdown has been staved off by billions of dollars in aid from Gulf states hostile to the Brotherhood, and Western censure has been muted, at best.