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President-elect Mohamed Morsy took the presidential oath in Tahrir Square on Friday, standing before a crowd of thousands of protesters who are rallying to demand the military’s exit from political life. In a speech following the oath, Morsy said he would not allow for any presidential powers to be taken away.
Morsy is expected to officially take the oath in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in the coming days. Some revolutionary youth and Brotherhood members called for him to be sworn in before a crowd in Tahrir, because they are the people responsible for his win.
Morsy took the stage Friday evening in Tahrir Square to address the gathering, closely surrounded by security guards dressed in suits and dark sunglasses, who he sometimes shooed away throughout the speech.
He chanted with the crowd at the beginning of his speech, “Free revolutionaries will continue the course," replying to chants of "We love you Morsy," with "I love all of you, every one of you."
He promised to represent all Egyptians, Christian and Muslim. He said he was for "those who elected me, those who opposed me, and those who still oppose me."
Morsy repeatedly said that the Egyptian people were the only source of legitimacy and power.
"You give what powers you want to give, and you take away the powers you want to take away," he said. "You are the source of power."
He also saluted those in the field of arts and culture.
“Commissioning me with the presidency is a great honor I’m proud of,” Morsy said. “I assure my greetings to all sectors I forgot to mention in my first speech.”
In his previous speech, Morsy had forgotten to list some of the country's governorates.
“Revolution is led by its aims, and it will continue until it achieves all of its goals. You are the source of legitimacy and power, above all,” he continued.
In his speech, Morsy also promised to work to free civilian detainees being tried by military courts and Omar Abdel Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Abdel Rahman is a blind sheik jailed in the US for the plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
Morsy also paid homage to Tahrir Square itself, and other squares from which he said " a new, free Egypt was born." He said that as president, he would remember that he is first responsible to the martyrs of the revolution, "whose blood watered the beautiful tree of liberty."
Halfway through the speech, the president-elect left the podium, to stand closer to the crowd, and lifted his jacket to show that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
"I am not afraid of anything but God," he said.
Morsy also promised a "complete renaissance," for the Egyptian economy, that would encourage tourism. He promised to respect the laws and constitution of the country.
He ended his speech saying that "I love you, and whenever we need each other, we will meet here, in the square of the revolution and the martyrs."
Morsy’s acting spokesperson Yasser Ali said Thursday that Morsy’s speech would likely outline the first steps of his Renaissance Project.
Morsy’s security detail had arrived earlier to secure the area and and state television technicians had prepared the stage for the speech, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
Morsy performed Friday prayers in Al-Azhar Mosque, he was received by Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Endowments Minister Mohamed Abdel Fadil al-Qousy and a number of other Al-Azhar sheikhs. Worshippers chanted, “God is great, God is great” upon Morsy’s arrival.
Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr reported that Morsy headed for Tahrir after prayers were over. State television showed Morsy being surrounded by supporters outside Al-Azhar as he departed.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reported traffic jams in the area around the mosque as thousands walked there to try to attend prayers with the president-elect.
Muslim Brotherhood-aligned preacher Safwat Hegazy delivered the Friday sermon to thousands of protesters in Tahrir. He stressed “the need to hand over power fully as the military council has no right to issue a supplement to the Constitutional Declaration that further consolidates the military state.”
“The people want a civilian state that is free of that which angers God the almighty. The armed forces’ role is protecting the borders,” he said.
He called for a referendum on the dissolution of the People’s Assembly, saying that the people have the right to rule themselves. He also cautioned the people against creating another pharaoh.
Sheikh Mazhar Shahin, the imam of the Omar Makram Mosque in Tahrir Square, delivered a speech after Friday prayers urging Morsy to take the oath of office in Tahrir and to remain loyal to the revolution.
Shahin also called on the people to be patient with Morsy in the task ahead of him.
He added that Morsy should purge all state institutions, especially the media, of Mubarak loyalists and demanded justice for the martyrs of the revolution. Shahin declared that Morsy should not only be the Brotherhood’s president, but the president for all Egyptians.
People began to gather in Tahrir Friday morning for a protest calling on the military to return to the barracks and play no further role in political life. Protesters have also been staging a sit-in in the square for the last 11 days.
The protesters are demanding that the military transfer full power to the president and the cancellation of the supplement to the Constitutional Declaration which cements the military’s authority while limiting the powers of the new president.
They are also calling for the reinstatement of Parliament, which was dissolved by a Supreme Constitutional Court on 12 June.
Demonstrators closed the entrances to the square using iron barricades, and popular committees were stationed at the entrances to check the IDs of people who wish to join the protest.
Marches are planned from mosques around Cairo and Giza to the square. Protesters would also march to the Presidential Palace to stress their rejection of the supplement to the Constitutional Declaration and the dissolution of the People's Assembly.
Groups of protesters began to gather around the sole stage, which has been set up near the American University in Cairo since the sit-in began 11 days ago. Organizers strengthened the stage and added more speakers in preparation for Morsy’s speech.
Street vendors flocked to the square after many of them had been expelled Thursday evening after the sit-in was attacked by thugs.