Nightly News   |  July 03, 2013

Cheers erupt in Tahrir Square as Egypt’s military rousts Morsi from power

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.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. it is a wild night in tahrir square in cairo and across egypt for that matter. just today and just like that, their new president is gone. the last time we saw an upheaval like this was during the arab spring, when hosni mubarak was thrown from power. the new president, morsi, democratically elected, now he's gone after a year in office. and right now, tonight, the power structure is vague, after the military rolled in. our team is in place in cairo tonight, including our chief foreign correspondent, richard engel , back on familiar territory. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian . some people here are saying what has happened today was a coup. that is certainly what the now outsted president morsi is saying in the only statements so far. he said "a revolution has been stoleern." in tahrir , they are not calling it a coup. they say it was military intervention at their request for change. just watch. and listen. it's the cry of millions of egyptians, an outpouring of joy and relief. that a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. the end of an experiment in political islam , gone wrong.

>> i'm crying, because i'm so happy. so happy, we get rid of them.

>> we are now free of the muslim brotherhood .

>> reporter: a reset button pushed once again by egyptian politics, by protests and ultimately the military. tonight, army helicopters flew over tahrir square , egyptians lit them up with lasers, tanking them for driving out president morsi, for neglecting the needs of the people. make no mistake, these celebrations are not even against islam , or even islam in politics, but against morsi and the muslim brotherhood , for using religion to win votes and then governing badly. it was triggered by this highly anticipated announcement. ly will the military chief outlining a roadmap. morsi out, the constitution suspended, the head of the constitutional court , the new president. but only until early elections. the army stressed, it doesn't want to run egypt . can it be believed? what about morsi and supporters they call it a naked coup, they say it's an affront to islam , a pot by america and islam . they are furious. the army has deployed armored vehicles to detain them. but they are armed, and some could start an insurgency. back in tahrir square , back with the winners, what about democracy? is a military intervention really what they wanted? no. but they say it was their only choice to fix a mistake they don't want to repeat. and, brian , tonight, there are deep concerns about what will happen next in this country. the u.s. embassy which is located just at the back of tahrir square has ordered all nonessential personnel and their families to leave egypt , and is even encouraging american citizens in egypt to leave the country. brian .

>> isn't job one of the military to convince a couple million people to go home and peacefully leave the square ? what will victory look like for them in that way?

>> reporter: these protesters are probably going to be in this square for the next several days at least. the first order of business from the military seems to be to try and limit incitement, already arrests and moves to close down some of the muslim brotherhood television stations. they do not want radical clerics, radical islamics taking to the air and calling on morsi supporters to come out, start an uprising. the military's concern is not these people in the square , but the people who backed morsi who didn't get their way.

>> amid the fireworks, gunfire and laser pointers, richard engel above a noisy and boisterous tahrir square .