Egypt's president, Mohammed Morsi, who was in office for one year as the country's first democratically elected leader, is no longer in power according to the military -- and his whereabouts are unknown. Tens of thousands turned out in Tahrir Square to celebrate by waving flags, dancing and shooting fireworks, as it was announced that the constitution has been suspended. NBC's Richard Engel reports.
Egyptians expressed hope for a brighter future Thursday after the army removed democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi from power.
“Everyone here is very happy,” said Ayman Anwar, who spent Wednesday night demonstrating outside the presidential palace. “We have been through hard times and Egypt has been very unstable. It still is. But now we have something that everyone can be included in.”
The 30-year-old record company art director added that he had no qualms about the military's intervention. "They are our friends," Anwar added. "If we all work together, we will create a better country."
Andrew El-Homossani, a 30-year-old teacher from Cairo, was scathing about the Islamist former president, who was elected only 12 months ago.
He called Morsi "a tyrant, a dictator ... an incompetent fool" who had "no consideration for Egypt."
Rampant crime, a crumbling economy and a revolution hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists all contributed to the country's unrest, prompting calls for change by many in Egypt, including those who had voted for Mohammed Morsi. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
However, El-Homossani said bringing Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood into the fold was important.
“There has to be some kind of inclusiveness,” he said. “They have to be part of the political process. We have a divided country and it’s going to take a long time to bring us back together.”
Hesham Hegazi, a Pennsylvania-based spokesman for opposition movement Tamarod, said that the group was hoping for new elections soon.
In the wake of Morsi's ouster by the military, top judge Adly Mansour was sworn in as interim president on Thursday. The army has said it has no interest in power but it remained unclear when elections would occur.
“We hope that within a few months we will be able to hold new elections which will be much more open than the last time,” Hegazi said. "We also hope that a new constitution will be written, a constitution that Egypt deserves.”
The country’s constitution, which opponents of Morsi claimed was rewritten to favor his Islamist faction, was suspended on Wednesday.
Some were more doubtful about what the transition of power would mean for Egypt.
“I believe that we’re going from one dictatorship to another dictatorship,” said photographer Marwa Morgan, 23.
“There are no clear signs of how long the transition period will be,” she said, adding that she feared a return to the violence that marred former President Hosni Mubarak’s fall in 2001.
Dina Hosny, a resident of Cairo, said many Egyptians know little about new interim president, Adly Mansour.
“I don’t think most people knew what he even looked like,” she said. “His name wasn’t even being chanted in protests. He’s an experienced judge since the Mubarak era but the focus now is on whether they will actually fulfill their promises and include all political parties in Egypt's political roadmap and constitution.”
“The most important thing is to include the Muslim brotherhood as it will further radicalize them and send them underground if they are not included.”
However, Pediatrician Jihan Heomi, 44, called recent events “amazing” even though she admitted that no one knew much about new leader Adly Mansour.
“The Muslim Brotherhood discriminated against people. They made it so only they were in charge,” she said. “When Morsi got in he promised that everyone would participate but that was not the case. He was a puppet of the Brotherhood.”
She added that she didn’t know much about the new president, but said she hoped he would be much more inclusive.
“He is not going to be ruling long,” she said. “Hopefully only six months to a year. I hope his government will redraw the constitution that was ruined by the Brotherhood and implement free and fair elections soon.”
- Mubarak-era judge takes over as Egypt's interim president
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This story was originally published on Thu Jul 4, 2013 9:57 AM EDT