Mohammed Morsi overthrown as Egyptian president - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 4 July

After days of unrest and mass demonstrations, Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi has been ousted as leader of the Middle Eastern country by the army.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 4 July

Mohammed Morsi overthrown as Egyptian president

After days of unrest and mass demonstrations, Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi has been ousted as leader of the Middle Eastern country by the army.

Armed forces chief General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, announced on Wednesday evening that Mr Morsi had been ejected from power and placed under house arrest, adding that he had “failed to meet the demands of the people”.

This raises serious questions around the strength of democracy in states that have become increasingly fragile following the Arab Spring in 2010-11, which saw leaders topple like dominoes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Mr Morsi became Egypt’s first freely elected leader after the elections that followed the downfall of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak.

But optimism over the future of Egypt has turned sour and, perhaps buoyed by the power of demonstrations elsewhere, mass protests broke out calling for the end of Mr Morsi’s premiership rather than the public having to wait three years to vote him out.

Tensions had been mounting in recent weeks and millions of demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday to remonstrate against what they see as an Islamist agenda being pursued by Mr Morsi’s political party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

A failure to allay the economic gloom affecting Egypt is also believed to have contributed to Mr Morsi’s downfall.

The mass rallies in Egypt came amid a rash of similar demonstrations that have taken place in various different countries across the world, most notably in Turkey and Brazil. Democratically elected governments in both of those countries have suffered serious backlashes for unpopular decisions, which have led to a deeper malaise.

The Turkish government’s decision to build a shopping mall over Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park sparked major protests, which snowballed into clashes about more serious issues such as freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Turkey’s unrest directly influenced agitators in Brazil, who were unhappy with the government’s decision to host both the World Cup and the Olympics in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The movement then broadened, with people speaking out against deeper issues in Brazil around perceived corruption within the establishment.

Egypt’s army announced it had suspended the Islamist-backed constitution, which was put in place after a referendum in 2012, and has promised to hold new elections just a year after the country freely elected its first leader.

A new interim government has since been announced, with Adly Mansour, chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, standing in as interim leader.


  • Mohammed Morsi was Egypt's first "democratically elected president". What does this mean?
  • Besides democracy, what other forms of government exist?
  • What are protests and what do people hope to achieve by holding them?
  • Find out about a famous protest in history that helped to bring about change. Write down five facts about it to share with the class.

Related resources

The Arab Spring

  • Explore the background behind the Egyptian uprising with this presentation and lesson plan to introduce the Arab Spring.

Forms of protest

  • Are all forms of protest acceptable? Students express their opinions with this writing frame.

What is a protest?

  • A scheme of work, suitable for 11-14-year-old students, about protesting and what makes an effective protest, includes an assessment task on political cartoons.

Examples of protesting

  • Help pupils understand how protesting has changed over the last 50 years with this citizenship lesson with different case studies.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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