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CONNECT THE WORLD

Special Edition: Protests In Egypt

Aired July 2, 2013 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, an extremely tense situation in Egypt tonight. Welcome to this special edition of Connect the World live from Cairo.

It's 10:00 p.m. here, less than 24 hours away, as Jim said, from a crucial military deadline. And these pictures tell the story this hour. Massive rival demonstrations underway in Cairo. Right now in Tahrir Square, protesters who want President Mohamed Morsi to resign. Across the city, pro-government protesters who say he is not going anywhere.

There's a real sense tonight that Egypt could be on the verge of sweeping political change.

According to state media, if the army's demand for all sides to reconcile is not met, it will step in, suspend the constitution, dissolve parliament and install an interim ruling council.

We've got a lot for you this hour and lots of moving parts. I'm joined for the hour this evening by Khalil al-Anani. He's a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington here with me in the studio.

But let's start this evening with our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman covering the massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

Ben, describe the mood if you will.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's jubilant, Becky. Many people here celebrating what they see as a victory against President Mohamed Morsi. The army's ultimatum was seen as basically pushing the Egyptian president into a corner. And they are confident that somehow or other he will either step down or be forced to reshuffle his cabinet, perhaps call for early parliamentary or presidential elections.

But Becky, I think it's important not to focus too much on all the noise and commotion in Tahrir Square. There are sort of -- there are serious developments happening elsewhere in Cairo. We understand that in Giza, which is part of the greater Cairo metropolitan area on the other side of the Nile, at least two people have been killed this evening in clashes, dozens wounded.

We're also getting reports of clashes between pro and anti-Morsi people in the Nile delta as well as upper Egypt. And this was the big concern on the 30th of June that there would be violence. And there was violence that day, but the worry is that this deadline is set into motion, mounting of tensions that could result in even more bloodshed -- Becky.

ANDERSON: You've describe the mood in Tahrir Square at least as jubilant at this hour. It's not clear as of yet whether President Morsi is prepared to step down. We will discuss this hour whether he is prepared to compromise at what is this 11th hour.

But if he were to continue and refuse the leave the presidency, how would you describe the potential for a change in mood in the square below you?

WEDEMAN: Well, that would change dramatically, but it's not a question of President Morsi. He could easily compromise. He could meet with the opposition. He could bring more opposition figures into the government. He could offer to have a discussion in the consultative council to revise the constitution and have a new referendum for it.

But certainly there has been talk amongst some of the people in the anti-Morsi camp of marching on and storming the palace where we understand President Morsi has been spending a lot of his time recently.

So, the mood could easily change if President Morsi were to simply refuse and reject outright the military's 48 hour ultimatum and insist on staying in power and not making any major concessions -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. All right. Ben Wedeman there over Tahrir Square. And I cannot overstate the potential for violence. Already a deadly night here in Cairo in what is a very, very polarized country as we speak.

Let's get some perspective on what are these critical hours ahead. We're joined, as I said, by Khalil al-Anani a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, an expert on Islamist movements including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Where, tonight, do you believe that Egypt is headed?

KHALIL AL-ANANI, SENIOR FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: Well, I think that we are back to square one again. At the same time that we used to be two years ago when President Mubarak also refused to step down. I think now we are witnessing, first of all, very weak and isolated a president that he did everything wrong since he took power until now. He created many enemies. He was isolated from the media, from the judiciary, from the army, the police. So now he is only counting on his supporters.

The second thing we have, army in control. We have the military in control. They are preparing to come back to power again.

Third, we have a very strong opposition movement that is asking for only one thing -- they're asking President Morsi to leave power right now. They will not accept anything...

ANDERSON: No compromises.

AL-ANANI: ...at all. I don't think it's not -- we are, you know, behind any kind of compromise.

ANDERSON: We're past that point.

AL-ANANI: Absolutely. I think the only way out now is that the President Morsi come out and say, look, guys I did many mistakes and this is the time for a change. And he promised that. He said that when he took power. He said that if I did any mistake and you came to the streets and you said go, I will go. Now he needs to fulfill his pledge.

ANDERSON: A year in, his supporters -- and they are on the streets in their thousands tonight, say this is a democratically elected president who will stay and see this out.

AL-ANANI: Well, this is the problem here with that, there is a big difference between to be a democratically elected and to be democratically governing. What happened over the last year that President Morsi, he did not give much effort to reach out (inaudible) forces. He did not try to include as many as he can from (inaudible) forces. And he did not improve any economic or social issues.

So now this is -- there is a problem in perception of democracy. Democracy doesn't mean that you take everything just because you want elections. Now we need to understand that democracy means consensus, means inclusions, means to have a representative government.

So this is the conditions for democracy.

ANDERSON: And you make a very good point that the military, the third factor over the past few days in what is a very polarized situation, the role of an honest broker, or the role of a remilitarized Egypt going forward.

Let me leave you just for a moment with that thought. I want to get to a minister -- certainly a minister until the last 24 hours. In the last 24 hours here in Egypt, at least six ministers have announced their resignation from President Morsi's government. One of them is the minister of state for environmental affairs. I've got him on the phone now. Khaled Abdel-Aal.

You tended your resignation. Am I correct in saying it hasn't been accepted by President Morsi?

KHALED FAHMY ABDEL-AAL, RESIGNED CABINET MINISTER: It hasn't been accepted. And it's -- the decision is pending at the moment.

But I have...

ANDERSON: So have you thrown your support...

ABDEL-AAL: Excuse me.

ANDERSON: Have you withdrawn your support for the Morsi government?

ABDEL-AAL: No. I'm still -- I'm still functioning. And my support is not -- is for the Egyptian people. I'm supporting the Egyptian people. And I am working for the Egyptian people.

ANDERSON: You say you effectively are still functioning, but this is a government that simply isn't functioning at this point.

You know President Morsi, is he prepared to compromise at this 11th hour, or are we past that point?

ABDEL-AAL: I hope so. I don't know the president personally. I have only met with him in meetings. So I'm not (inaudible) very much with him. But I think that if we don't make compromises, then we are -- we are endangering the national security of Egypt.

ANDERSON: What happens tomorrow, just let me ask you that very briefly. What are your fears going forward?

ABDEL-AAL: Tomorrow -- I think what's going to happen tonight, we are waiting for a speech by the president to announce as said very important decisions. If the decisions are not going to be met by an improved or welcome by the people, we expect that we'll have an escalation in the situation. We will have more demonstrations tomorrow. And if we don't reach a compromise, then another wave of violence will prevail.

ANDERSON: Difficult times. Thank you very much indeed for joining us this evening.

Much more on Egypt ahead tonight on this special edition of Connect the World live from Cairo. I'm Becky Anderson for you. We'll speak to a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman after the break about the dramatic turn of events since their victory just a year ago at the ballot box.

And we'll take a closer look at the anti-Morsi protest movement. I'll speak to a member of the Tamarut movement about what the opposition's plans are in the days ahead.

This is CNN. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CNN. This is a special edition of Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson live for you tonight in Cairo -- a very, very noisy Cairo. Sadly, a deadly situation here tonight. We can confirm at least two people killed in clashes between anti-government an pro- government forces today, possibly more. We're working to confirm those details.

I want to get you to one of our correspondents now, Reza Sayah. Egypt less than 24 hours away from a military deadly, of course, that could spell the end of the president, Mohamed Morsi's rule. There's a clear sense of excitement here tonight among the anti-government protesters in Cairo. And Reza Sayah is near the presidential palace with some of those protesters. It's a very, very loud situation.

To you, Reza, an update if you will.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Becky, I don't know where Egyptians get their energy. They've been demonstrating for nearly 72 hours. They're still going at it. And now these demonstrations are starting to feel a lot like a celebration. I'm briefly going to step out of the shot to give you a look of this remarkable scene. We've had fireworks going off all night, singing, dancing. These are people who are celebrating because they sense that that palace that you see in the distance won't be Mohamed Morsi's palace much longer. They sense that they're closer to reaching their goal, that is to push President Morsi out of power.

While this is happening, we cannot forget President Morsi's supporters, the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist political movement who came out of decades of oppression under the Mubarak regime to suddenly find one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi as president. They, too, see these mass demonstrations. But they're not throwing in the towel. In some parts of Cairo, they're out en masse, telling the opposition that they're not through yet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAYAH: A passionate support for Egypt's embattled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Thousands of the president's backers coming out to say they're still standing, and so is the president.

"Secularists will never rule Egypt," they scream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support President Morsi. And I think he will stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one can take this (inaudible) from us.

SAYAH: No one can take Mr. Morsi, your choice, away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our choice.

SAYAH: For President Morsi, holding on to power seems increasingly difficult. Mass demonstrations against him and the Muslim Brotherhood movement are bigger, taking place in far more cities. His ministers and aids are resigning, the police are keeping a low profile. And the military has given the government and the opposition a Wednesday deadline to fix Egypt's tangled political conflict. Otherwise, the military say, they're stepping in. It's mounting pressure that has President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood cornered and isolated.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Islamists have had a history of perseverance. Remember, for decades they were oppressed, sidelined, sometimes even tortured and killed, most recently by the Mubarak regime. But they stayed organized. They endured. And after the 2011 revolution, they managed to win parliamentary elections, then the presidential elections. This is what they've been waiting for, to be in power. Losing in power would clearly be a tough pill to swallow for many of these people.

For now, President Morsi's supporters are not backing down. He's Egypt's president, they say, elected freely and fairly. And the principles of democracy say he should finish out his term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he committed some mistakes and this is the nature of the human being, but the real democracy, not the fake one, their democracy is to give him the chance in order to complete his term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want both sides to still sit around the table and negotiate for the future of this country.

SAYAH: With the clock ticking, the possibilities of negotiations seem more and more unlikely. And now all eyes on the Wednesday deadline to see what it brings. At stake, the future of post-revolution Egypt and this difficult transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAYAH: Back lit (ph) here in front of the presidential palace, Becky, you can be sure tomorrow when that deadline comes this crowd is going to be back here again.

ANDERSON: Reza Sayah for you tonight.

We're live in Cairo. I'm here just down from Tahrir Square. There are tens of thousands of people on the street demonstrating against the government here this evening and in favor of President Morsi who remains president as we speak. We don't know where he is this hour. What we do know is that he has spoken both with the head of the military, who is also the defense minister here, and the prime minister. They could still be speaking at this hour. What we are expecting is a statement from the president within the coming hours.

The military, of course, yesterday giving a 48 hour deadline to these rival factions here. The opposition and the government led by President Morsi. Get your act together, sort this political crisis out or we are stepping in.

And tonight, we also believe that we have a road map from the military which would include dissolving parliament, hear that being the upper house, the Shura council (ph) and pretty much starting again, bringing a technocrat government.

Let's talk to an adviser now for the Muslim Brotherhood who waited decades, of course, for the chance at power in Egypt. And earned it through, let's be absolutely clear about this, democratic elections. The question, though, tonight is what will they do if the army sidelines President Mohamed Morsi which is a likelihood at this stage if there is no 11th hour compromise.

Let's ask Gehad El-Haddad, who is a Muslim Brother adviser who in Cairo tonight.

Simply this, what do you advise President Morsi to do this evening?

GEHAD EL-HADDAD, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ADVISER: If I were to advise the president, I would say hold ground. The people are millions in the streets. (inaudible) any attempted military coup, or any coup that is backed by military force. The Egyptian people have said since January 25 that the road to reform and rebuild this country is going through democracy and through the ballot box. Any other means of bullying the nation to a single choice by a single group will not be acceptable in the new Egypt.

ANDERSON: Interesting, you talk about a classic coup, as it were, the military certainly talking about themselves as an honest broker in all of this and making a point over the last 24 hours that this is not about taking over and re-militarizing Egypt, bringing in emergency powers. They are taking a role as an honest broker, they say, in order to sort this mess out. You're response.

EL-HADDAD: There's no such thing as an honest broker when it comes to the military. The military, at the end of the day, is a military machine of tanks and soldiers. They have to follow the hierarchy of command of the military cycle. And the commander-in-chief is the President Mohamed Morsi. They should not step out of this line of command. They are the arm of the state and are support to protect the legitimacy of the state and (inaudible) of the presidency. Both of these have been approved by the ballot box...

ANDERSON: Gehad, can you still hear me?

OK, let me put this question to you. The president has had a year when he has talked about -- have we lost Gehad? Can somebody -- OK, let's see whether we can bring him back at some point, but certainly let's at this point take a moment to step back. Khalil is still with me, and you're an expert, of course, on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The point I was going to make to our adviser there was that the president has spent a year saying he wants national dialogue with these opposition forces, the civil secular youth movements here. And yet giving no sense that the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing the Justice and Freedom Party is prepared to concede any ground in what is the writing of the constitution and the running of this government. That is the problem, isn't it?

AL-ANANI: Absolutely, it is. I will say that President Morsi did not offer a genuine dialogue for the opposition. I think there is a very wide mistrust between -- gap between both of them. That's why the opposition insists that we can not go to dialogue without having guarantees. This dialogue would lead to some kind of solution for the crisis.

What happened over the last year that President Morsi used to offer them come and let's talk. But then what would be the guarantees for this kind of dialogue? How can we be sure that you would be committed, because they tried him many times and he did not fulfill and he did not respond politically to the demands.

ANDERSON: This is about reducing the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. For those who may see this as a democratically elected, government, surely, but wanted to just see that influence reduced -- very briefly.

AL-ANANI: Well, I think that -- yes, I think the Brotherhood now they waited for a long time to take power. But now they come into power, but they don't know how to deal with this power. They are in big trouble now.

ANDERSON: All right. You're staying with me for this hour. We're going to take a very short break. This is Connect the World live from Cairo for you on what is a very tense evening.

Coming up, women in Egypt: why many say sexual violence is worse now here in Egypt than before the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. We're back with that after this. And your headlines of course.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Becky.

Plenty more from me, including an update on the American...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: You're watching Connect the World. Welcome back. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. Here's a look at some of tonight's other top stories.

The possibilities appear to be dwindling for U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The former NSA contractor has withdrawn his request for asylum in Russia after President Putin said he'd have to give up leaking American state secrets if he wanted to stay in the country. Now Snowden is still believed to be hiding out in the transit area of a Moscow airport waiting to be granted political asylum somewhere. But most of the 19 countries he's applied to have said they can't take him in.

However, Venezuela's leader, who happens to be in Moscow, implied that his country may be more welcoming. Although, Snowden hasn't filed an application there. Bolivia has also said Snowden would be accepted there.

At least 25 people were killed in Iraq after a series of bombs struck the capital Baghdad. And some reports put the numbers much higher. The blast targeted mainly Shiite areas. Iraq is suffering its worst sectarian violence since 2008. The UN released figures on Monday indicating that over 2,000 Iraqis have died in violent attacks since April.

Nelson Mandela remains in a critical, but stable condition in a hospital in Pretoria. But it's no longer the anti-apartheid icon that's making the headlines, but his family as Nkepile Mabuse reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The children of Qunu where Nelson Mandela grew up sing cheerful songs of his return from hospital. But even amid optimism, a more practical and morbid task continues. Work is underway to improve access to his grave site.

Publicly, his family has said they cannot yet let go.

MAKI MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S DAUGHTER: In our culture, the (inaudible) culture, that I know, the African culture that I know, you never leave the person unless the person has told you please, my children, my family, release me.

MABUSE: Behind the scenes, though, preparations for his passing appear to be tearing the family apart, pitting his eldest daughter Maki against Mandela's oldest grandson Mandla. Maki and 15 others want Mandela buried in Qunu, alongside his three deceased children. But Mandla, who is the traditional chief of Mandela's birthplace Mvezo, wants the international icon to be laid to rest where he was born, a village he's in the process of turning into a tourist attraction.

On Friday, a court ordered Mandla to return the remains of three of his grandfather's deceased children. Mandla's accused of exhuming and relocating the bodies to Mvezo in 2011. A case with tampering with graves has been opened against him.

The dispute has been making front page news for days. Although Mandela is appealing the ruling, traditional leaders say it is in line with Mandela's Timbu (ph) culture.

PATHEKILE HOLOMISA, TRADITIONAL LEADER: I think he should be buried in Qunu, because that's where his house is, that's where his home is. He has to continue to be part of his family.

MABUSE: This is not the only squabble to expose deep divisions in a family considered political royalty in South Africa. Mandla and Maki also differ on how a family trust created by Mandela for their welfare should be accessed and controlled. That feud is also being fought in the courts.

Traditional leaders have called for a resolution in line with the values that earned the South African statesman international admiration.

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Pretoria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: For now, that's it from me. Becky has more of what's coming up from Cairo -- Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right. We're living Cairo with this special edition of Connect the World. This evening, Tahrir Square just moments away from me here. We're inside a studio so I can hear the noise outside. It is extremely noisy capital city here in Egypt tonight. Cars moving around behind me, but certainly a huge -- tens of thousands of people out on the streets.

Coming up, who is behind these anti-Morsi protest movements. We speak to a member of Egypt's Tamarut (ph) campaign to find out what happens next. That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour. Massive rival demonstrations are taking place in Egypt right now as a military deadline approaches. These anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square have been peaceful, but state media say seven people have been killed elsewhere in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi.

Across town in Cairo, Morsi's supporters are having a rally of their own. The army says if all political forces don't resolve the crisis by tomorrow, it will step in.

Former US security contractor Edward Snowden has withdrawn his request for asylum in Russia. That's after the Russian president warned that Snowden would have to stop leaking information about the US government if he wanted to stay. Asylum requests have been made on Snowden's behalf in 19 other countries.

President Jacob Zuma is asking South Africans to begin planning for Nelson Mandela's birthday on July 18th. Mr. Zuma said it will be an opportunity to pay tribute to the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon. Mandela remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

The US military is sending four specially-equipped planes to help fight the massive wildfire in Arizona that has already killed 19 firefighters. Extreme heat, dry conditions, and erratic winds are making it extremely difficult to contain the 3400 hectare fire.

Let's return, now, to Cairo where Becky Anderson is live for CONNECT THE WORLD.

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Thank you very much, indeed. If there's one thing that is clear today here in Cairo, it is that Egypt is on the verge of significant change. As Fionnuala suggested, protesters packing the streets of Cairo in their tens if not hundreds of thousands, including this crowd in Tahrir Square demanding Mr. Morsi's resignation.

His angry critics are protesting outside the presidential palace as well, but Mr. Morsi's supporters are on the streets, a smaller but still sizable crowd has been showing its support several kilometers from Tahrir Square. Let's get you to Ben Wedeman for the very latest. Ben?

(CROWD SHOUTING)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. Well, the demonstration continues, and what's interesting is that now somebody's set up a laser projector that's projecting onto a very large government building, and what you're seeing is a slogan we hear quite often here, is that "we're not going, he must go." And of course, referring to President Mohamed Morsi.

And it really is an almost celebratory atmosphere here, and it has been since yesterday afternoon when that statement was issued by the head of the armed forces council, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, issuing that 48 hour ultimatum.

For these people here, they saw it as a victory, basically -- the military reading the riot act, to some extent, the opposition, but largely to President Mohamed Morsi, that if he wants to stay in power, he's got to dramatically change his policies.

The complaint among many people here in Tahrir Square is that the Muslim Brotherhood, along with President Mohamed Morsi, has tried to impose an Islamist agenda on a country that many of these people feel is much more diverse than that.

In the crowd below me, there are old and young Muslim, Christian, men and women. This afternoon, for instance, I saw a 96-year-old woman holding a picture of Mohamed Morsi with a great big X on it, and she was being pushed on her wheelchair through this square.

So, definitely one very large component of the population of Cairo is clearly saying it's time for President Mohamed Morsi to go.

(CROWD SHOUTING)

ANDERSON: It'd be difficult, too, to push anybody through that square at the moment, because you can see, viewers, the extent of the crowds out on the streets. It is after half past 10:00 in the evening. Thank you, Ben. Ben Wedeman, there, above Tahrir Square for you.

A quite remarkable night in Cairo this evening, people honking their horns, they have been all day, but as the sun went done and the heat went out of the day, people beginning to gather again, as I say, in their hundreds of thousands.

The size of these crowds, at least as big, if not bigger, than those that we witnessed two years ago in this -- the revolution of 2011 in Egypt.

So, who are these anti-Morsi protesters? A new sort of coalition, a burgeoning coalition here, they're being led by what is known as the Tamarod Campaign, the name means "rebel" in Arabic, and the groups say in the past few months, they have collected 17 million signatures.

Remember, a country of just over 80, 85 million, 17 million signatures, Tamarod say that they have gathered, calling for Mohamed Morsi to resign. That's 4 million more than those who actually voted Mr. Morsi into office.

Tamarod is part of the June 30 Front, the political group which helped organize Sunday's protest against the president. It seems a long time ago. Let's discuss the opposition movement with Shehab Wagih, who joins us now.

And Sunday does seem an awfully long time ago. It was a point just 48 hours ago when you called as a movement for the resignation of President Morsi. Tonight, you said this was the deadline. He hasn't gone.

SHEHAB WAGIH, ANTI-MORSI ACTIVIST: Yes, but we hear the response. The issue is that we heard a response. We had the response from our armed forces. Our armed forces were very clear. It said clearly that if the presidency will not hear the demands of the people, then they will interfere.

And they will not interfere in politics. They declared it also clearly they do not want to interfere in politics. What they will do is that they are going to let the -- to ask the -- to force the presidency to hear the demands of the people.

ANDERSON: What happens in the next 24 hours will be absolutely crucial. Let me ask you this: how significant would you say the elements of the old regime, Mubarak loyalists are, and to what extent are they exploiting this political crisis? You -- it would be unfair and untrue to say that they aren't out there, wouldn't it?

WAGIH: Actually, this idea is the idea of the president. It's the president who is thinking that everything is a conspiracy and everything is coming from America --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: You're not going to tell me that there aren't old --

WAGIH: -- I don't think you are supporting them, is this right?

ANDERSON: -- Mubarak-type regime loyalists in the mix exploiting what is going on today.

WAGIH: What is happening -- maybe. Maybe among the protesters. There are very many protesters. There are regular people who were members in the NDP before. Maybe. But what I know clearly is that the National Salvation Front, that's a moderate movement, and all the big political opposition forces, has no members from the former regime.

Actually, the former regime has not this kind of ideology. There are no believers in the old -- in the former regime. This is not true. The former regime was just a group who had some kind of interests in the state.

ANDERSON: The Tamarod group has been quite a phenomenon here. We now know that Mohamed ElBaradei, who was, of course, the head of the IAEA, the nuclear wing of the United Nations, will now be one of the voices negotiating for this sort of coalition of opposition groups. Negotiating, or is it too late? You want to see the ouster of President Morsi, right?

WAGIH: We do not think this negotiations will be with Dr. Morsi. Actually, we believe Dr. Morsi is not the main player now. The main player now is the armed forces. They are the main player now. We believe that Dr. ElBaradei has to talk with the armed forces --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: You want to see remilitarization --

WAGIH: -- about this road map.

ANDERSON: -- of Egypt --

WAGIH: No.

ANDERSON: -- and the emergency powers brought back in? I mean, this was a disaster at the end of the Mubarak regime.

WAGIH: The statement was very clear. They do not want to rule. They want to enforce a road map toward the future. This road map will not be written by the armed forces. It will be written by --

ANDERSON: Who will it be written by?

WAGIH: -- the political --

ANDERSON: Who will it be written by? If a new constitution was to be written, who would it be written by?

WAGIH: The new constitution is a part of a road map for the future. We wish that all the political forces can go and write their own constitution. Our problem with the constitution, that it was written by a single political force. No other forces. No other force was interfering in this.

What we are willing for now is that we are having a road map and constitution which is written by almost everyone.

ANDERSON: Do you expect to see violence on the streets of Cairo if you don't see the end of President Morsi by tomorrow, this deadline set by the military? We've already seen seven deaths being reported by state media this evening.

WAGIH: Yes, but let me tell you something. All the protests against Dr. Morsi is very peaceful. We didn't attack anyone in the streets.

ANDERSON: Well, they have been deadly tonight, and we know.

WAGIH: We had attacks on us from some -- some people who are claiming they are pro-Dr. Morsi. Those are attacking our demonstrations.

ANDERSON: We're going to leave it there. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

WAGIH: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Shehab Wagih. Live from Cairo, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you with a special edition of the show this evening.

Coming up, as many women pro and anti-government take to the streets today, we're going to take a closer look at the dangers that they face in a society where one report shows nearly every woman -- every woman here -- has experienced some sort of sexual violence. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: I'm live in Cairo for you tonight, Becky Anderson here with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, and a very, very, very tense situation as the military here awaits to see what the rival factions will indeed negotiate a compromise deal to end this political crisis.

If you talk to anybody on the streets here, they'll say that isn't going to happen, so what happens over the next 24 hours in Egypt is yet to be determined. And what happens here, of course, has regional and international consequences as well.

As thousands take to the streets yet again in Cairo's Tahrir Square, a new wave of sexual violence is being reported. According to one volunteer group fighting against harassment, there's been 46 sexual assaults during anti-government protests since Sunday. A Dutch journalist was reportedly raped on Friday. She had to go to hospital and needed surgery.

During the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, Human Rights Watch said security services assaulted, arrested, and tortured journalists and protesters. Now, in February 2011, American journalist Lara Logan said she nearly died when she was attacked.

Another journalist, Mona Eltahawy, told Human Rights Watch that she was beaten with sticks and groped repeatedly when she was assaulted. Sexual violence has long been a problem in Egypt, but many believe it has actually gotten worse in the last year.

According to a UN report in May this year, nearly half of the women surveyed reported more harassment after the revolution, 44 percent said the level of harassment remained the same before and after the revolution.

Joining me now is Heba Morayef, who is the Egypt director of Human Rights Watch. And I hate to say it, but I know you're hear tonight with further terrible statistics from this evening.

HEBA MORAYEF, EGYPT DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, as of this evening, there've been at least 23 cases of mobbed sexual assault against women in Tahrir Square just behind us this evening.

ANDERSON: Today?

MORAYEF: Yes, today. And that brings the overall number of attacks up to 91 women who've been mobbed, attacked, sexually assaulted, and in some cases, gang-raped.

ANDERSON: The United Nations say 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some sort of sexual violence. Those numbers are almost unbelievable.

MORAYEF: You ask any woman who lives in Egypt and they will tell you that sexual harassment is a daily part of women's lives. It happens on public transportation, it happens in public institutions, it happens in the street. And that ranges from sort of verbal harassment to groping and also evolves later on into these far more serious cases of sexual violence.

ANDERSON: Why do you think it is?

MORAYEF: I would say that one part of it is that the government has never tried to take this on seriously. There is a general climate of impunity, the perpetrators always get away with it, and I think that's why in particular in Tahrir where people know that the police is nowhere nearby, that's why women have been so vulnerable.

But overall, the government, apart from ad hoc, piecemeal responses, has never taken this on very seriously and thought about what this means for Egyptian women.

ANDERSON: I know that the UN -- there was a UN report that called for full equality for women in marriage. The Brotherhood loudly rejected that report, didn't they?

MORAYEF: The Brotherhood rejected that report, and it also on many occasions rejected the international human rights law framework when it comes to women's rights and the concept of equality in and of itself. That was, of course, one of the contentious points when it came to the constitution.

ANDERSON: They said it would lead to disintegration of society and undermine Islamic ethics and destroy the family. Do they get support here in Egypt for that view?

MORAYEF: Well, there is a lot of support in Egypt for the fact that family law should still be based on Islamic law. I think that's -- that's definitely there. I think if you put the question to women and you talked to them about their rights when it comes to divorce, their right to livelihood, their ability to provide for their family, you can translate equality in a way that is much more relevant for their daily lives.

ANDERSON: It would be wrong for us to sit here tonight and say that no women support the Brotherhood, that every woman here is looking for a more secular, liberal, civic sort of government going forward, wouldn't it?

MORAYEF: Absolutely. There are many women who support the Brotherhood and who voted for the Brotherhood. There are also women who are within the Brotherhood, members of the political party, at least, who've also been very active.

That's not the question. I think the question is, what protection does the law provide to women who are not in power, who are not empowered - -

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: And the answer is nothing.

MORAYEF: -- and who have no choices. Yes.

ANDERSON: How would you describe Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo and other cities this evening?

MORAYEF: Well, I think there's been a sense of jubilance in general that's been out there on the streets, but I think people don't necessarily know what we're getting into in Egypt, and on the other side of the city, there's violence right now at Cairo University that's left several people dead so far.

ANDERSON: Can I put this question to you? We know that something's happening at the political table, we just don't know where this hour. We don't know where President Morsi is. We know he's met with the head of the military, the defense minister, and the prime minister today. But what's happening at the political table is very different from what is happening here on the streets, isn't it?

MORAYEF: Well, very much so, and I think Egyptians have experienced this moment before where they were not the ones making the choices, where the military and a soft military coup in February 2011 took over decision- making power.

And the one thing that I think is really important is that I hope those decision-makers behind closed doors actually think about the rights of Egyptians and try to avoid as much bloodshed as possible. Because that is my biggest fear right now.

ANDERSON: The Egypt director of Human Rights Watch, Heba Morayef, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us --

MORAYEF: Thank you.

ANDERSON: -- with what is an incredibly important story in what is an incredibly tense situation here in Cairo. More from us in a couple of moments. There is other news, of course, tonight, and Fionn has more on those wildfires in the south of the States. Fionn?

SWEENEY: Thanks very much, Becky. Yes, indeed, coming up after this short break on CNN, the US military joins the fight against those raging wildfires in Arizona. As Becky said, we'll have the full story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from CNN. More from Becky in Cairo in a moment, but first, an update on the deadly wildfires that continue to spread in Arizona.

The US military is sending four especially-equipped firefighting jets like those you see here to the southwestern United States state to help. Now, the C130 jets can drop 11,000 liters of water on a fire in less than five seconds.

High temperature, dry wind, and parched land are all fueling those fires, which have so far charred more than 34 square kilometers. On Sunday, 19 firefighters lost their lives battling the blaze.

To the outside world, they were a band of elite firefighters, but to the city of Prescott in Arizona, they were fathers and sons, husbands and brothers. CNN correspondent Kyung Lah has been speaking to the families of the fallen and has more on a community now in mourning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIANN ASHCRAFT, ANDREW ASHCRAFT'S WIDOW: They're real people with real families, too, and we love and miss them. They're heroes. They died heroes. They were heroes in our home, heroes in our community.

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A community that now grieves. The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots have names, their average age just 27 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have very few words that express that kind of sorrow, but when you take a person in your arms and you hug them, you don't have to say too much.

LAH: Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Woyjeck followed in the footsteps of his father, a Los Angeles fire captain.

JOE WOYJECK, KEVIN WOYJECK'S FATHER (via telephone): You know, you spend your whole life protecting your children. Words can't describe the loss that our family's feeling right now.

LAH: Thirty-year-old Chris MacKenzie also wanted to be like his dad, a firefighter, so he joined the department two years ago. Twenty-nine- year-old Andrew Ashcraft, an athlete, a go-getter, but most importantly, a husband to wife Juliann. She learned that her husband had died while watching the news with their four children.

TOM ASHCRAFT, ANDERW ASHCRAFT'S FATHER: We all will miss him very much. We all consider him a hero along with all the other men that died.

LAH: Twenty-five-year-old Billy Warneke, a four-year Iraq War veteran was expecting his first child with wife Roxanne. Twenty-six-year-old Sean Misner was supposed to be the best man at his friend's wedding.

JAYSON LAMBERT, SEAN MISNER'S FRIEND: We were close enough that I still said "I love you" when I say goodbye to him on the phone, and if I could tell him anything, it's just that I love him, that we're going to take care of his family for him, and --

LAH: Their end, too early. Their bodies moved out of the charred fields past the residents they gave their very lives to save.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Prescott, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: And to find out how you can help the families of those 19 fallen firefighters, head to cnn.com/impact. There you'll find information on local charities being set up and links to connect to them. Well, let's go back to Becky now in Cairo. Becky?

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed. And a day of fast-moving events here as we -- as we move towards what is an ultimatum by the military. The president needs to talk, he needs to talk now, he needs to talk to rival factions or it's all over for him, bar the shouting, effectively.

Will he do that? Well, in the past ten minutes or so, we've had from Mohamed Morsi's official Twitter site him calling on the army to withdraw its ultimatum. Remember, this was a deadline that the army set 48 -- 24 hours ago for Wednesday. He also insists on his constitutional legitimacy. He is digging in, it seems, for the long haul, here.

Joining me again is Khalil al-Anani, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, with me, of course, live in Cairo tonight. We started talking an hour ago thinking that we would hear from Morsi an official statement this evening.

We've got from his official Twitter site no concessions at all. He says he insists on his, and I quote, "constitutional legitimacy" and he calls on the military to withdraw its ultimatum. Your thoughts?

KHALIL AL-ANANI, SENIOR FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: Well, I think this is -- we expected that Morsi, he believes that he got the right and he believes that he is democratically elected, and he shall not leave power unless they should have another election after he completes his term.

And this is part of the game now. I think Morsi now is counting on how to mobilize people in the street. I think now he is looking at his supporters in the streets and he says, look, if it's a game about mobilization, I can mobilize even more than you. But the thing is that --

ANDERSON: Can he?

AL-ANANI: Well, to some extent, I really doubt. Because these people come to the streets with a very ideologically committed to their president. But they don't have anything more than this

ANDERSON: The Muslim Brotherhood mobilized them to vote for them last year.

AL-ANANI: Well that's -- exact -- that's right. I think now, Morsi does not have any support outside his constituency. He only got his ideologically-committed people who voted for him and they are members of Islamist parties.

ANDERSON: He's digging in. We've heard from the international community, of course, today. We know that President Obama spoke to the Egyptian president in the past 24 hours. He said it wasn't the right of other countries to get involved. But what did you read into that statement? Is there an implicit support for the military by the US here?

AL-ANANI: Well, I would say that I don't imagine any role for the military without coordination with the United States. I think that the statement of the military came by coordination with the United States to make a stand.

I would say that the street now is moving and is leading everybody to rethink its position, and I think this is time for the Brotherhood and for President Morsi to rethink his position. I think this is the time now that it should be very clear that this is part of the revolution that was replaced two years ago, and now this is the time to accept that.

ANDERSON: Khalil, let's just take a look at that Twitter comment from Mr. Morsi tonight on his official Twitter site. He stresses his "constitutional legitimacy" just before 11:00 local time here. It's getting very, very late. There are hundreds of thousands of people on the streets. They won't have seen this yet, but people were expecting to hear from Morsi tonight.

He also calls on the army to withdraw its ultimatum. That's his official site here this evening. As we move into, as it were, the 11th hour, or the 23rd hour tonight, there is something like 11 hours before the deadline, the 48 hour deadline that the military set. What happens tomorrow, Khalil?

AL-ANANI: Well, I think that the military knows very well that both sides, the opposition and President Morsi will not get together, otherwise they would have done this, I would say, weeks ago. So, I think this is how Islamists perceive this kind of deadline, that this is a pressure on Morsi to leave power.

For them, this is a red line, and I don't think that they would accept any kind of deadline. They would defend -- because they believe that they are defending Islam, they are defending democracy, they are defending their identity. So I would say that they would remain in their seat as long as they can. So, this is the matter of time.

ANDERSON: And sadly, tonight, we've seen death on these streets. One hopes the violence doesn't increase. But sadly, we believe it could do. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us tonight.

AL-ANANI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: That is CONNECT THE WORLD live from Cairo. I'm Becky Anderson for you. We leave you with some of the most powerful images of the day. From Cairo in Egypt, it's a very good evening. CNN continues.

END