Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi protest in Tahrir Square… (Amr Nabil / Associated Press )
CAIRO -- The liberal opposition Constitution Party asked Wednesday for the military's intervention to prevent Egypt "from slipping into civil war," and accused President Mohamed Morsi of "instigating his supporters to battle the sons of the same nation under the pretext of protecting legitimacy, which has already abandoned him."
In a statement, the party, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, said Morsi's speech late Tuesday night rejecting a military ultimatum to form a coalition government with the opposition or step down was a call to arms.
Reuters news service reported that ElBaradei met with country's military commanders on Wednesday before the late-afternoon deadline imposed by the generals.
PHOTOS: Massive protest against President Morsi in Egypt
The opposition party also offered its condolences for lives lost in the recent unrest, saying it feels "great sorrow and pain for all the pure Egyptian blood wasted last night after President Mohamed Morsi decided to defy the true legitimacy coming from the majority of the Egyptian people who have gone out in millions over the last few days to insist on one demand, and that is the necessity of Morsi's immediate abdication of power for failing completely at administering the country."
The party stressed that military intervention would not translate into a coup, saying the army’s actions are based on its siding with the will of the masses in the streets.
"Every minute that passes without the armed forces intervention to perform its duties and protect the lives of Egyptians will waste more blood, especially since the person in the presidential position has lost his legitimacy and eligibility, and maybe even his mind," its statement concluded.
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Hassieb is a special correspondent.