In a nearly three-hour address run on state television this evening, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi responded to millions of protesters in his country who are demanding he resign. Morsi, who was elected one year ago last Sunday, said unequivocally that he will not step down.
Though Morsi said that he has "made mistakes on a number of issues," his tone was generally not that of a man who felt he was in the wrong. Echoing sentiments he's expressed on Twitter already, Morsi said over and over in his speech that Egypt needed "legitimacy," and that, as the democratically elected president of the nation, it is his job to provide it. "Stability and legitimacy is the linchpin for democracy," said Morsi, reminding everyone more than once that he took office after "free and transparent" elections.
Morsi's call for renewed faith in his abilities comes on the heels of an Egyptian military ultimatum: Either Morsi squelches the protests by Wednesday, or the army initiates its "roadmap" to betterment. Military leaders stopped short of calling their so-called roadmap a coup, saying that their ultimatum was only meant to "push all political parties nationwide to quickly find solutions to the current crisis." They added, "The doctrine and culture of the Armed Forces do not allow the adoption of any 'military-coup-based' policies."
Coup or no, in his speech Morsi demanded that the army withdraw its ultimatum. Assuming it will not, a spokesman for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group has asked pro-Morsi citizens to be prepared to fight an armed coup. "Seeking martyrdom to prevent this coup is what we can offer to the previous martyrs of the revolution," Mohamed al-Baltagui said, referencing the hundreds of protesters who died in the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.