The Egyptian army has taken over the state television hours before the deadline for Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to address people's demands or quit.
Armoured vehicles have been deployed to the state TV building in the Maspero district of Cairo. The staff responsible for live coverage have reportedly left the building and the army has taken charge of it. An army officer reportedly went round on Wednesday morning telling non-essential staff to leave.
AP reported that military officers are present in state TV newsroom, monitoring content before ultimatum
The development came as the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing has refused to meet the armed forces commander. Waleed al-Haddad, senior leader for the Freedom and Justice Party, said that party members "do not go to invitations with anyone".
Members of the Brotherhood remain defiant ahead of the army deadline. A spokesman for Morsi said the president thought it would be better to die "standing like a tree" than to be remembered in history as the one who demolished Egyptians' hopes for democracy. "It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree," Ayman Ali told Reuters.
Opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei had a meeting with the head of the army Abdul Fattah al-Sisi according to Reuters. Baradei represent the opposition National Salvation Front coalition who led the anti-Morsi mass protests last Sunday. Along with Baradei, Egypt's top Muslim cleric and Coptic pope attended the meeting.
The army is due to issue another statement after the deadline passes, according to AFP.
More than 20 people have died and hundreds have been wounded in clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents since the start of mass protests on June 30.