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IN PICTURES: Egypt protesters erupt in joy as army ousts Morsi

Today the army staged a military coup after issuing an ultimatum to the country’s president on Monday.

Fireworks light the sky opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo (Amr Nabil/AP/PA).

IN THEIR TENS of thousands, they cheered, ignited firecrackers and honked horns as soon as the army announced President Mohamed Morsi’s rule was over, ending Egypt’s worst crisis since its 2011 revolt.

Camped out in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square for a week, the anti-Morsi protesters let loose with an outburst of joy when military chief General Adel Fattah al-Sisi brought them the news they all were waiting to hear.

As the din rang out for over an hour in Tahrir, epicentre of the Arab Spring uprising that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, groups of overjoyed revellers carried members of the security forces on their shoulders as heroes.

Across town near Nasr City, where Morsi’s Islamists had gathered in a counter-demonstration, one celebrator Omar Sherif said: “It’s a new historical moment. We get rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood”.

(Image: Nariman El-Mofty/AP/PA)

The protesters had been forced to wait anxiously until the announcement at around 9:00 pm (1900 GMT), with the crowd building up slowly as day turned to night.

“Egypt, Egypt” and “Leave, Leave,” they chanted outside the defence ministry building, as reports came in that the army was deploying dozens of armoured vehicles near Islamist gatherings elsewhere in the capital.

With broad grins, they sang patriotic songs they have become accustomed to hearing as the same tunes have been pumped out on state television in the weeks leading up to the crisis.

“Morsi deserves his end. He was the president of the Muslim Brotherhood, not of Egypt,” said Cairo resident Amr Mohammed, who carried his 40-day-old daughter in his arms as he marched to the Ittihadiya presidential palace.

A group of housewives put a table in the street and handed out dates and free cups of water, as celebrations erupted when a television station reported that Morsi had been placed under house arrest.

Upon hearing the rumour, one elderly man kneeled down on an Egyptian flag and said “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).

That report proved unfounded, but officials did say security forces had imposed a travel ban on Morsi and his top Islamist allies over their alleged involvement in a 2011 prison escape.

(Image:Khalil Hamra/AP/PA)

Abdel Khalek Abo Risha, 56, who came to the protest from Tanta city in the Nile Delta, said: “I only expect Morsi to be toppled. No other options”.

Nehal Serry, a woman who helped to organise the refreshments, said: “This is for the sake of Egypt. We are celebrating that we are getting rid of Morsi”.

The gathering in Tahrir dwarfed a rally by the embattled president’s supporters in Nasr City.

“Come here O Sisi, Morsi isn’t my president,” the protesters chanted, referring to army chief and defence minister, General Sisi.

The powerful military had issued a 48-hour deadline on Monday for Morsi to meet the “people’s demands”, a day after millions of protesters took to the streets across the troubled country calling for him to resign.

But thousands of people had gathered in Nasr City in a show of support for Morsi, despite an attack by a group of men that killed 16 of them and left 200 injured overnight.

That was before the military moved in to disperse them, however, with AFP correspondents reporting they had seen dozens of armoured personnel carriers ominously heading to Islamist gatherings at Cairo University, Heliopolis, and Nasr City.

A military officer said later that the “Islamists are not allowed to get out of Rabaa Square today, so that they can’t cause any chaos”.

Dozens of military armoured personnel carriers completely surrounded the square, with troops putting up barbed wire and helicopters buzzing overhead.

Those inside could be heard firing birdshot, although they were outgunned and remained stuck behind the barricades.

(Image: Amr Nabil/AP/PA)

Army vehicles surrounded the protest outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr City, where Morsi supporters have been camping out for days vowing to defend his legitimacy.

“It’s a coup d’etat against an elected president,” said Ahmed Abulmagd in Nasr City. “Morsi was betrayed.”

Other parts of the capital were eerily quiet, as many chose to stay at home in fear of becoming caught up in more bloodshed.

“I’m so worried, the future of my country will be written in the next few minutes,” said one taxi driver as he waited for passengers in a neighbourhood where the shops were all boarded up.

IN PICTURES: Egypt protesters erupt in joy as army ousts Morsi
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  • Protesters rejoice

    Fireworks light the sky moments after Egypt's military chief says the president is replaced by chief justice of constitutional court outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Egypt's military has suspended the Islamist-backed constitution and called early elections. The military also announced that embattled President Mohammed Morsi will be replaced.Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi's ouster. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
  • Celebration

    Egyptians wave national flags as fireworks light the sky over Tahrir Square, where hundreds thousands opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader but drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
  • Tahrir Square

    Opponents of Egypt's Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi celebrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader but drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Protesters

    Fireworks light the sky as opponents of Egypt's Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi celebrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Egypt's military has suspended the Islamist-backed constitution and called early elections. The military also announced that embattled President Mohammed Morsi will be replaced. Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi's ouster. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Egypt celebration

    Egyptians celebrate at a tea house during Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's announcement in Cairo's Zamalek district Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader but drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
  • Fireworks

    Egyptian protesters chant slogans against Egyptian Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader but drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)
  • Egypt

    Flares light as opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." The denouncement was posted shortly after the Egyptian military announced it was ousting Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader but drew ire with his Islamist leanings. The military says it has replaced him with the chief justice of the Supreme constitutional Court, called for early presidential election and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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