Thu, Jul 04, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Egypt’s military tightens grip as deadline expires

AP, CAIRO

“Will not happen, will not happen,” they shouted.

The army has insisted it is not carrying out a coup, but acting on the will of the people to clear the way for a new leadership. However, yesterday it clearly was positioning itself to maintain control during any unrest sparked by a move on Morsi.

The military beefed up its presence inside the mammoth headquarters of state television on the banks of the Nile River in central Cairo. Crack troops were deployed in news-production areas. Officers from the army’s media department moved inside the newsroom and were monitoring output, though not yet interfering, staffers said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the arrangements.

The state TV is run by the information minister, a Muslim Brotherhood member put in the post by Morsi, and its coverage had largely been in favor of the government. However, already in the past two days, the coverage saw a marked shift, with more balanced reporting showing the anti-Morsi protests along with pro-Morsi ones. State radio has seen a similar shift.

The authoritative, state-run al-Ahram newspaper — which also seemed to be following a military line — reported that the military had placed several leaders of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood under surveillance and issued a foreign travel ban on the Islamist group’s top leaders.

Security officials at Cairo’s international airport said the travel ban covered among others the Brotherhood’s former leader Mahdi Akef and the group’s senior official Mohammed el-Beltagi and the leader of the Islamist Wasat party, Abou Ela Madi, and his deputy Essam Sultan.

Additional reporting by AFP and Reuters

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