Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi demanded on Tuesday that the country’s army withdraw a 48-hour ultimatum for him to resolve the conflict with his political opponents.
"President Mohammed Morsi asserts his grasp on constitutional legitimacy and rejects any attempt to deviate from it, and calls on the armed forces to withdraw their warning and refuses to be dictated to internally or externally," said a tweet from the Egyptian presidency account.
On Monday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) gave Morsi and the opposition until Wednesday to reach a solution. In a statement published several hours later, the presidency had rejected the ultimatum, saying the army declaration had not been cleared by the presidency and could cause confusion.
Meanwhile, Egyptian media said that seven people were killed in clashes between Morsi opponents and supporters on Tuesday. Violence during the protests over the weekend had already left 16 people dead and hundreds injured.
The website of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported that violence broke out between pro- and anti-Mohammed Morsi supporters in the city of Minya after a number of Morsi supporters reportedly fired at anti-Morsi protesters during rival protests.
Thousands of Morsi supporters had gathered in front Al-Rahman mosque, known in the city as an Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya spot, in a march towards the city’s Palace Square where hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters had been staging a sit-in against the recently-appointed Islamist affiliated governor, when a number of people from the pro-Morsi protest reportedly fired at protesters in front of the governorate building.
An account of injuries has not yet been provided.
In Cairo, there were massive anti-Morsi crowds gathered in Tahrir Square, at Ittihadiya presidential palace, and at Qobba presidential palace, reported Al-Ahram.
There were also anti-Morsi rallies in Alexandria and the governorates of Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Daqahliya, and in the cities of Suez and Port Said.
Meanwhile, reports on Tuesday said that the Egyptian armed forces have drafted a political plan that will suspend the constitution, dissolve an Islamist-dominated parliament, and establish an interim council led by the country’s chief justice if the country’s parties do not resolve their differences.
Sources in the Egyptian military said on Tuesday that SCAF was still deliberating over the details of the plan, which is meant to resolve a political crisis that brought to the streets millions of demonstrators.
The army intends to allow an interim council to take effect, said the sources, adding that it will be made up of mainly civilians from different political backgrounds and experience.
They did not specify how the army was planning to deal with the Islamist president if he refused to step down quietly.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department denied reports that the U.S. is calling on Morsi to schedule early elections.
"The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate," State spokesman Jen Psaki said at her briefing on Tuesday.
She said the U.S. has called for Egypt to allow protests and to respect democracy, both publicly and in private, but that the U.S. had not called for early elections.