"This is a military coup. We will remain and deprive it of legitimacy until it is corrected," Mohamed El-Beltagy, a leading member of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, told reporters at a pro-Morsi sit-in outside a mosque in Cairo.
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Asked if the Brotherhood might take up arms, he said: "No. That is unlikely." The 85-year-old movement, long suppressed during years of military-backed rule, renounced violence decades ago.
El-Beltagy added that the military overthrow of Morsi might push other groups, though not his own, to violent resistance.
"The issue is not with Brothers being in or out of prison. The Brothers have lived in prisons for ages," he told reporters. "The issue now is the position of the free world that is pushing the country to a state of chaos and pushing groups other than the Brotherhood to return to the idea of change by force," he said.
Beltagy was speaking at a sit-in by Morsi supporters at a suburban Cairo mosque close to the presidential palace.
According to Egyptian officials, Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader has been arrested on Thursday. The prosecutor's office ordered the arrest of the Brotherhood's top leader, Mohamed Badie, and his deputy Khairat el-Shater, judicial and army sources added.
Morsi supporters are worried that Islamists will from now on suffer from persecution, as they did under the reign of former president Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian judicial authorities opened an investigation on Thursday into accusations that Morsi and 15 other Islamists had insulted the judiciary, investigating judge Tharwat Hammad said, imposing a travel ban on all of them.
Pro-Morsi supporters outside inauguration ceremony (Photo: Reuters)
Brotherhood 'used to being in jail' (Photo: Reuters)
Brotherhood rejects 'military coup' (Photo: Reuters)
An Islamist coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood appealed to Egyptians on Thursday to demonstrate across the nation in a "Friday of Rejection" against the coup. The National Coalition in Support of Legitimacy "calls on the Egyptian people to take to the streets and mobilize peacefully" after Friday prayers "to say 'No' to military detentions, 'No' to the military coup."
Egyptian air force fly Egypt's colors (Photo: Reuters)
Rokaya Sadat, the daughter of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat who was murdered in 1981 by an Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, referred to the ouster and said: "I thank the Egyptian people for protesting and bringing Morsi down. You have helped avenge my father's blood," she said, adding that "the military's statement was firm and proved that its loyalty is not with the US, as some claim."
Earlier Thursday, Egypt's alliance of liberal and leftist parties said it opposed excluding Islamist parties from political life after the military-backed authorities arrested Muslim Brotherhood leaders. "We confirm our strong belief in the right of all political groups to express their opinions freely, and to form their own political parties," the National Salvation Front said.
"What Egypt is witnessing now is not a military coup by any standards. It was a necessary decision that the Armed Forces' leadership took to protect democracy, maintain the country's unity and integrity, restore stability," it added.
The supreme justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court has been sworn in Thursday morning as the nation's interim president, replacing the ousted Mohamed Morsi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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