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Violence Escalates Egyptians Divided

Published: 27/01/2013 01:18:03 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Clashes between protestors and police continued Sunday, January 27, in a fourth day of violence, as Egyptians are growing frustrated by the regular escalations that have hammered their livelihoods. Till now, none o (more)

CAIRO - Clashes between protestors and police continued Sunday, January 27, in a fourth day of violence, as Egyptians are growing frustrated by the regular escalations that have hammered their livelihoods.

"Till now, none of the revolution's goals have been realized," Mohamed Sami, a protester in Cairo's Tahrir Square told Reuters.

"Prices are going up. The blood of Egyptians is being spilt in the streets because of neglect and corruption and because the Muslim Brotherhood is ruling Egypt for their own interests."

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At least 48 people have been killed and hundreds injured in four days of street clashes between protestors and security forces.

In the worst violence, at least 36 people died in the Mediterranean city of Port Said in protests at a court ruling sentencing 21 defendants to death over their role in the killing of 74 people at a football match in February between Cairo's Al Ahly club and the local al-Masri team. Many of the victims were fans of the visiting team.

The violence came a day after ten people were killed in clashes between police and protestors marking the 2nd anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Army troops were sent back onto the streets to restore order in Port Said and Suez, another port city on the Suez Canal where at least eight people have been killed in clashes with police.

Although scuffles continued in Cairo, there was no immediate sign of the kind of deadly escalation of previous days in the capital or elsewhere.

On a bridge close to Cairo's Tahrir Square, youths hurled stones at police in riot gear who fired tear gas to push them back towards the square.

The US and British embassies, which are both close to Tahrir, said they were closed for public business on Sunday.

The spasm of violence adds to the daunting task facing Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as he tries to fix a beleaguered economy and cool tempers before a parliamentary election expected in the next few months which is supposed to cement Egypt's transition to democracy.

Morsi's opponents accuse him of failing to deliver on economic promises and say he has not lived up to pledges to represent all Egyptians.

His supporters say the opposition is seeking to topple Egypt's first freely elected leader by undemocratic means.

Divided Nation

Many Egyptians are frustrated by the regular escalations that have hurt the economy and their livelihoods.

"They are not revolutionaries protesting," taxi driver Kamal Hassan, 30, told Reuters.

"They are thugs destroying the country."

Egypt's economy has been hammered by the political turmoil, badly hurting the livelihood of most Egyptians.

The unrest has stumbled efforts of the Morsi's administration to reach a nearly $5 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Following Saturday's violence, the National Defense Council, headed by Morsi, called for a national dialogue to discuss political differences.

Though the offer has been cautiously welcomed by the opposition National Salvation Front, it has demanded a clear agenda and guarantees that any agreements will be implemented.

The Front, formed late last year when Morsi provoked protests and violence by expanding his powers and driving through the country's new constitution, has threatened to boycott the parliamentary poll and to call for more protests if a list of demands is not met, including having an early presidential vote.

Egypt's transition has been blighted from the outset by political rows and turbulence on the streets that have driven investors out and kept many tourists away, starving the economy of vital sources of hard currency.Egypt's defense minister who also heads the army, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, called for the nation to stand together and said the military would not prevent peaceful protests. But he called on demonstrators to protect public property.

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