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Violence Greets Egypt Emergency

Published: 28/01/2013 09:18:04 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Clashes flared in Cairo on Monday, January 28, for a fifth day of deadly violence that prompted Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi to declare a state of emergency in an effort to halt unrest that swept the heavyweight Ar (more)

CAIRO - Clashes flared in Cairo on Monday, January 28, for a fifth day of deadly violence that prompted Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi to declare a state of emergency in an effort to halt unrest that swept the heavyweight Arab country.

"We want to bring down the regime and end the state that is run by the Muslim Brotherhood," Ibrahim Eissa, a 26-year-old cook, protecting his face from teargas wafting towards him from police lines near Cairo's Tahrir Square, told Reuters.A man was shot dead Monday in new clashes between protestors and security forces in Tahrir.

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Police fired volleys of teargas at dozens of youths hurling stones near the square, where opponents have camped for weeks to protest against Morsi.

The clashes came shortly after President Morsi declared a month-long state of emergency in the cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia.

“We will confront any threat to its security with force and firmness within the remit of the law,” Morsi said in a speech on Sunday.

Morsi also declared a curfew in the three cities, where dozens of people have been killed in deadly clashes in the past three days.

"The protection of the nation is the responsibility of everyone,” he said, offering condolences to families of victims in the canal zone cities.

Morsi also called for a national dialogue on Monday, inviting a range of Islamist allies as well as liberal, leftist and other opposition groups and individuals to discuss the crisis.

But Morsi's move to declare emergency has drawn fire in the three cities, where activists have pledged to defy the curfew that will start at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) each evening and last until 6 a.m. (0400 GMT).

Some opposition groups have also called for more protests on Monday, which marks the second anniversary of one of the bloodiest days in the revolution that erupted on January 25, 2011, and brought an end to Hosni Mubarak's iron rule 18 days later.

"Martial law, state of emergency and army arrests of civilians are not a solution to the crisis," Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped galvanize the 2011 uprising told Reuters.

"All this will do is further provoke the youth. The solution has to be a political one that addresses the roots of the problem."

Rights activists said Morsi's declaration of emergency was a backward step for Egypt, which was under emergency law for Mubarak's entire 30-year rule.

Mubarak's police used the sweeping arrest provisions to muzzle dissent and round up opponents, including members of the Brotherhood and even Morsi himself.

But supporters say the move is necessary to help end the bloody violence in the three cities.


Morsi's call for national dialogue was rejected by the main opposition front as “cosmetic”.

"We will send a message to the Egyptian people and the president of the republic about what we think are the essentials for dialogue,” opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei told a news conference cited by Reuters.

“If he agrees to them, we are ready for dialogue.”

The opposition National Salvation Front coalition described the dialogue as "cosmetic and not substantive".

It set several conditions that have not been met in the past, such as forming a national salvation government. They also demanded that Morsi announce his responsibility for the bloodshed.

"Of course we feel the president is missing the real problem on the ground, which is his own policies," spokesman Khaled Dawoud said.

"His call to implement emergency law was an expected move, given what is going on, namely thuggery and criminal actions."

Ahmed Said of the liberal Free Egyptians Party said Morsi's tone on Sunday night was more threatening than conciliatory.

"Egypt is in danger and completely split," he told Reuters.

Morsi's opponents accuse him of listening only to his Islamist friends and reneging on a pledge to be a president for all Egyptians.

Islamists say their rivals want to overthrow by undemocratic means Egypt's first freely elected leader.The Front has distanced itself from the latest flare-ups but said Morsi should have acted far sooner to impose extra security measures that would have ended the violence.

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