The intensity of the clashes between supporters and defenders of Islamist President Morsi have increased. In the largest scene of violence since the protests began 16 were killed in clashes outside of Cairo University. Though the large majority of Egyptians have expressed a desire to see Morsi leave office his Muslim Brotherhood supporters have vowed to defend him with blood, if necessary. The situation remains tense as the clashes over control of the country rage on.
by Kim Ghattas
7/3/2013 Egypt (BBC) - Clashes broke out at rival protests across the country overnight, with at least 16 pro-Morsi protesters killed at a demonstration at Cairo University.
The army has said it will shed its blood to defend Egypt against "any terrorist, radical or fool".
Mr Morsi insists he is the legitimate leader and will not give in to "violence and thuggery" by resigning.
In a defiant televised speech on Tuesday evening, he too said he would give his life to defend constitutional legitimacy, and blamed the unrest on corruption and remnants of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Calling for protesters to respect the rule of law, he urged the establishment of a committee of reconciliation as well as a charter of ethics for the media, and said he was prepared to meet all groups and individuals as part of a national dialogue process.
The army has given a deadline of around 16:30 local time (14:30 GMT) on Wednesday for the crisis to be dealt with.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page after Mr Morsi's speech was broadcast - under the title, "Final Hours" - it said: "We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool."
Media reports say the army's plan includes the outline for new presidential elections, the suspension of the new constitution and the dissolution of parliament.
However one military source told Reuters those reports were not true, and that the deadline would mark the beginning of talks about what should be done next.