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Chairman of Egypt's Constitutional Court sworn in as interim head of state

The Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt [official website], Adly Mansour [BBC profile], on Thursday took the oath to become the interim head of state after the Egyptian military deposed [JURIST report] President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and suspended the nation's constitution on Wednesday. Morsi has been placed under house arrest, and arrest warrants have been issued [BBC report] for approximately 300 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood [official website; JURIST news archive]. Protests and demonstrations erupted throughout Egypt on Sunday, in which protesters called for the resignation of Morsi for his alleged failure to address economic and security issues in the last year. On Thursday, as Mansour was sworn in, people again gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate [CBS report] what they view as a triumph of the will of the people. Mansour will hold office until an election is held, but a date for the vote has not yet been set.

Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago. On Tuesday, following the military's threat to seize power from Morsi if protesters' demands were not met, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged [JURIST report] Morsi to "heed the lessons of the past" and listen to the demands of the Egyptian public. In February, thirteen Egyptian human rights organizations alleged [JURIST report] that Egypt's Ministry of Interior was responsible for police brutality and the deaths of protestors. Earlier that month, OHCHR criticized [JURIST report] Egypt's draft law on demonstrations for failure to adequately protect freedom of assembly. The draft law requires that organizers inform authorities about protest plans in advance and allows the interior ministry the right to reject demonstrations. The OHCHR also voiced concern [JURIST report] in January over the growing violence and rising death toll in Egypt stemming from ongoing protest throughout the country.

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