Troops deploy near protest sites, Morsi aide says coup is under way

CAIRO (AP) — A top adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi says the country is seeing a military coup.

The military today moved to tighten its control of key institutions. It did so with the passing of a deadline it had set for Morsi to meet the demands of protesters calling for him to leave office. Just before the deadline arrived, Morsi vowed again not to step down. And he criticized the military for “taking only one side.”

Troops backed with armored vehicles have been sent to the heart of Cairo. Meanwhile, a travel ban has been imposed on Morsi and his top allies, ahead of an almost certain push to remove the Islamist president.

Soon after the deadline passed, a military helicopter circled over the anti-Morsi crowds in Cairo’s central Tahrir square — which had become a sea of furiously waving Egyptian flags. The crowd chanted for Morsi to “leave.” After nightfall, fireworks went off, and green lasers flashed over the crowd.

In the main squares of cities nationwide, millions of people turned out, again demanding Morsi’s removal. It’s the fourth day of the biggest anti-government rallies Egypt has seen — even bigger than in the uprising that ousted his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier today, the head of the army met with a leading reform advocate, Mohammed ElBaradei, along with Egypt’s top Muslim cleric and others. A spokesman for an opposition group says they met to discuss a political road map.

%@AP Links

227-r-06-(Sound of protesters chanting, as Egyptian military moves toward Tahrir Square)–Sound of protesters chanting as Egyptian military moves toward Tahrir Square (3 Jul 2013)

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228-r-09-(Sound of military vehicles, as Egyptian military moves toward Tahrir Square)–Sound of military vehiclesas Egyptian military moves toward Tahrir Square (3 Jul 2013)

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229-r-15-(Sound of horns, drums and whistles, as hundreds of thousands gather in Tahrir Square)–Sound of horns, drums and whistles as hundreds of thousands gather in Tahrir Square (3 Jul 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: Crowd of protesters during anti-government protests, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, partial graphic (3 Jul 2013)

APPHOTO AMR138: Fireworks light the sky as opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Army troops backed by armor and including commandos have deployed across much of the Egyptian capital, near protest sites and at key facilities and major intersections. The deployment is part of a bid by the military to tighten its control of key institutions Wednesday, slapping a travel ban on embattled president Mohammed Morsi and top allies in preparation for an almost certain push to remove the Islamist president with the expiration of an afternoon deadline. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) (3 Jul 2013)

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