- Breaking News
- Today's Paper
- Text Only
- Family Notices
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Egypt’s newly-elected president read the oath of office in Tahrir Square and defied the country’s military rulers by saying: "I fear no one but God."
Mohammed Morsi addressed tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters in a strongly-worded speech. He spoke on the eve of his official swearing-in ceremony, that was scheduled in front of a high court. But many protesters called on him to take the oath in the square to defy the ruling generals who took power after Hosni Mubarak was driven from office.
"I swear by God that I will sincerely protect the republican system and that I respect the constitution and the rule of law," Morsi said to wild cheers from the crowd, many of whom were followers of his once-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
"I will look after the interests of the people and protect the independence of the nation and the safety of its territory," said the bearded Morsi, in an open-necked shirt.
Morsi is to be sworn in officially today by the constitutional court, rather than by parliament as is usual. The court dissolved the Islamist-dominated lower house this month in a series of measures designed to ensure that the generals who took over from ousted ruler Mubarak will keep a strong grip on Egypt’s affairs even after Morsi takes power.
"There is no power above people power," said Morsi. "Today you are the source of this power. You give this power to whoever you want and you withhold it from whoever you want."
His defiant speech was a clear challenge to the army, which also says it represents the will of the people.
The 60-year-old US-trained engineer addressed himself to "the Muslims and Christians of Egypt" and promised them a "civil, nationalist, constitutional state".
Morsi also paid homage to a militant Egyptian cleric jailed in the United States. "I see the family of Omar Abdel-Rahman (in Tahrir)," he said. "And I see the banners of the families of those who have been jailed by the (Egyptian) military."
He pledged to work for the release of prisoners, including Abdel-Rahman.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians cheered Morsi’s arrival in the square that was the hub of the anti-Mubarak uprising.
"Say it loud, Egyptians, Morsi is the president of the republic," they chanted. "A full revolution or nothing. Down, down with military rule. We, the people, are the red line."
© Irish Examiner Ltd, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523712.