Egypt's Morsi vows to stay on, army ready to die in "final hours" for people

CAIRO, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi vowed late Tuesday to stay on amid the ongoing political division in his country, where the opposition and liberals urged him to step down.In a televised speech, Morsi said that there will be no alternative for legitimacy and pledged to protect his "constitutional legitimacy" that is the only guarantee against civil strife.

  He urged Egyptians not to attack the army and the police and also called on the military to withdraw its ultimatum that was announced a day ago to give Morsi 48 hours to reach an accommodation with his opponents.The embattled president reiterated that he came to power through a free presidential election, stressing that the 2011 "revolution" was peaceful.

    "I want for Egypt to own its own will, for no one to dictate what it should do ... there are people abroad who don't want Egypt to own its will. It's easy to just listen to instructions," Morsi said.  He meanwhile accused remnants of the former regime of blocking Egypt's democratic transition period.

"The old regime doesn't want democracy. They are used to fraud elections," Morsi said, adding that "they don't know what democracy or freedom of expression are."Following Morsi's speech, millions of Morsi's opponents, who staged protests in Cairo's historic Tahrir Square and main squares in cities nationwide, erupted into indignation. "Leave, leave," they chanted.

   At least 16 people were killed in Cairo and 200 more wounded in other provinces, according to hospital and security officials and local media reports. The latest deaths bring to at least 30 the number of the people who have died since the first day of protests.

   Troops were on alert amid warnings of a potential civil war. On Wednesday, Egypt's high command said, in a response headlined "The Final Hours" to Morsi, that the army was ready to die to defend the people against terrorists and fools"We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool," said the post on the official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), headed by army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.Morsi also faced new fissures within his leadership.

   According to officials and media reports, at least six ministers who are not Brotherhood members have tendered their resignations since Sunday, including Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. Three government spokesmen -- two for Morsi and one for the prime minister -- were the latest to quit as part of high-level defections that underscored his increasing isolation and fallout from the military's ultimatum. And some 150 Egyptian diplomats have signed a petition urging Morsi to step down.

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