The Egyptian military has removed President Mohammed Morsi from power.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called the action a military coup, but anti-government protestors who gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities cheered when the military announced it had suspended the constitution and laid the groundwork for new elections.
Both Ahmed eEl-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and Orthodox Coptic patriarch Tawadros II say they support the armed forces road-map for the future.
Watch CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell's report from earlier today.
Morsi is believed to have been moved to an undisclosed location. All Islamist TV channels were shut down after Defense Minister Abdel Fatteh el-Sissi announced the military had taken control.
The head of the Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour will head an interim coalition government until parliamentary and presidential elections can take place. A committee examining possible constitutional amendments will be formed.
General el-Sissi said the military acted only after many proposals for reconciliation between President Morsi and opposition leaders were rejected.
"The armed forces understood the demands of the Egyptian people. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility," he said.
The armed forces called on the Egyptian people to "abstain from violence and resort to peaceful protests."
However, tanks and soldiers were deployed around Tahrir Square and other locations to prevent possible clashes between pro-and anti-Morsi protestors.
A Defiant Morsi
Earlier, a defiant Morsi rejected the call by millions of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding his resignation and the Army's ultimatum that he obey the wishes of the people.
Morsi told Egyptians he won't step down because he wants to protect the revolution.
"How can we protect our revolution from being stolen? I'll tell you: the revolution of the 25th of January and its goals, protecting its legitimacy -- the price for this is my life because I want to protect your lives," he said.
Morsi demanded the army withdraw their ultimatum.
"No one has the authority to intervene in the constitution, either by what they say or by force," he said.
His reaction angered many in the streets.
"He didn't respect anyone who is here and in other squares," protestor Ahmad Abdul Hamid said. "He came out with a speech to provoke us, not to calm us. He is threatening us, but I'm sending him a message from here: 'Egyptians will never be scared.'"
Many vowed to stay.
"The president was targeting his followers and his Muslim Brotherhood in his speech. He is ruling in their favor and he does not consider the rest of the people. We will remain in the square unless he steps down," Mohammad Saied, another protestor, said.
Yet at one pro-Morsi demonstration, some chanted they would defend Islam with their blood.
Morsi's decision set up a major confrontation between his supporters and those who wanted him to resign. More than 20 have died and more than 200 have been injured in fighting between the two opposing groups.
"I would like to pray to God to protect the army, the police and the people of Egypt and I would like to tell Morsi that this is enough and that he should resign before any bloodshed," protestor Gamal Mohammed said.
Without a political solution, Egypt remains a country divided and many fear on the verge of a civil war.