Egypt was on Wednesday heading for a confrontation between the military and President Mohammed Morsy, who has rejected an army ultimatum to end a political crisis with his opponents.
Hours before the ultimatum expires at 1630 (1430 GMT), the army leaked details of a roadmap that includes overthrowing Morsy, scrapping a draft constitution and forming a government of independents headed by an army general.
The army said it had to intervene after unprecedented rallies by million of Egyptians at the weekend to demand Morsi step down.
Morsy, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood group, has vowed to stay in office at any cost.
Sixteen people were killed and more than 200 were injured in clashes between his opponents and supporters in Cairo overnight.
Opposition groups accuse Morsy of focusing on cementing the Brotherhood’s grip on power and failing to improve economic and social conditions more than two years after the revolution that forced Hosny Mubarak to step down.
The al-Ahram newspaper reported that the military roadmap to end the crisis also includes drafting a new constitution and setting dates for new presidential and parliamentary elections.
“My life is the price for protecting the legitimacy,” Morsy said in a televised speech late Tuesday. “If my blood was the price to maintain legitimacy, then I am ready for this for the sake of this nation’s stability.” Al-Ahram also reported that some Brotherhood leaders have been put under house arrest, a highly unpopular measure used by the Egyptian military and police under Mubarak.
Morsy’s supporters say the army’s ultimatum amounts to a coup.
Morsy became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in June 2012.