Egypt’s Mursi declares emergency after clashes kill dozens
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency in three cities on the Suez Canal, where dozens of people have been killed in protests that have swept the nation and deepened a political crisis facing the Islamist leader.
Hundreds of demonstrators in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia turned out against the decision within moments of Mursi's announcement late on Sunday that came after the death toll from protests and violence that erupted last week hit 49 people.
Most deaths were in Port Said, where 40 people were killed in just two days. Riots were sparked on Saturday when a court sentenced to death several people from the city in a case of deadly soccer violence last year. Mourners at Sunday's funerals in the port, where guns are common, turned their rage on Mursi.
The violence in Egyptian cities has now extended to a fifth day. Police again fired volleys of teargas at dozens of youths hurling stones early on Sunday near Cairo's Tahrir Square, where opponents have camped for weeks to protest against Mursi, who they say betrayed the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak two years ago.
"We want to bring down the regime and end the state that is run by the Muslim Brotherhood," said Ibrahim Eissa, a 26-year-old cook, protecting his face from teargas wafting towards him from police lines near Tahrir, the cauldron of the 2011 revolt.
Propelled to power in a June election by the Brotherhood, Mursi's presidency has lurched through a series of po- litical crises and violent demonstrations, compounding his task of shoring up a teetering economy and preparing for a parliamentary election to cement the new democracy in a few months.
"The protection of the nation is the responsibility of everyone. We will confront any threat to its security with force and firmness within the remit of the law," Mursi said, offering condolences to families of victims in the canal zone cities.
Appealing to his opponents, the president called for a national dialogue on Monday at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT), inviting a range of Islamist allies as well as liberal, leftist and other opposition groups and individuals to discuss the crisis.
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mursi are seen through tear gas fired by riot police during clashes along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo January 27, 2013.