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Egyptian president declares curfew in three cities

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The bitter irony has not been lost on the Egyptian people. As they took to the streets to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak, violence broke out, leaving dozens of people dead. The newly repressive administration of current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has since called for a forced curfew on three towns along the Suez Canal.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Clashes between protesters and police have killed at least 48 people since Friday of last week. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of at least 30 people killed during clashes.

The cries of "Down, down Morsi, down, down the regime that killed and tortured us!" filled the streets in Port Said.

In addition to the curfew, Morsi has declared a 30-day state of emergency. In a televised address, Morsi said the emergency measures in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez would take effect on Monday. He also warned that more action would be taken to stem the latest eruption of violence across Egypt.

"I have said I am against any emergency measures but I have said that if I must stop bloodshed and protect the people then I will act," Morsi said.

Morsi also called for dialogue with top politicians to resolve the situation. Several hundred people took to the streets in Ismailia, Suez and Port Said after the announcement, pledging to defy the curfew in protest at the decision.

Morsi's office has invited political supporters and opponents for a national dialogue at the presidential palace in Cairo.

A spokesman for Egypt's main opposition coalition said this was "expected," and said he wanted more details about an invitation for dialogue with top politicians.

"Of course we feel the president is missing the real problem on the ground which is his own policies," Dawoud told reporters. "His call to implement emergency law was an expected move given what is going on, namely thuggery and criminal actions."

Leftist politician and opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahy said that he would not attend any negotiations "unless the bloodshed stops and the people's demands are met."

A leader of the NSF Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement on Twitter that the dialogue was "a waste of time."

Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch in Cairo said a state of emergency reintroduced laws that gave police sweeping powers of arrest "purely because [people] look suspicious.

"It is a classic knee-jerk reaction to think the emergency law will help bring security," she said. "It gives so much discretion to the Ministry of Interior that it ends up causing more abuse which in turn causes more anger."

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