Violence flares in Egypt


Thousands of Egyptian protesters ignored a curfew today to take to the streets in cities along the Suez canal, defying a state of emergency imposed by Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to end days of violence that has killed at least 51 people.

Emergency rule announced by Mr Morsi yesterday covers the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. The army has already been deployed in two of those cities and ministers agreed a measure to let soldiers arrest civilians.

A cabinet source told Reuters any trials would be in civilian courts, but the step is likely to anger protesters who accuse Mr Morsi of using high-handed tactics of the kind they fought against to oust his military predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's politics have become deeply polarised since those heady days two years ago, when protesters were making the running in the Arab Spring revolutions that sent shockwaves through the region and Islamists and liberals lined up together.

Although Islamists have won parliamentary and presidential elections, the disparate opposition has since united against Mr Morsi . Late last year he moved to expand his powers and pushed a constitution with a perceived Islamist bias through a referendum. The moves were punctuated by street violence.

Mr Morsi's national dialogue meeting today to help end the crisis was spurned by his main opponents.

They say Mr Morsi hijacked the revolution, listens only to his Islamist allies and broke a promise to be a president for all Egyptians. Islamists say their rivals want to overthrow by undemocratic means Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Thousands of anti-Morsi protesters were out on the streets again in Cairo and elsewhere today, the second anniversary of one of the bloodiest days in the revolution which erupted on January 25th 2011 and ended Mubarak's iron rule 18 days later.

"The people want to bring down the regime," they chanted Alexandria. "Leave means go, and don't say no!" they shouted.

In Cairo today, police fired volleys of teargas at stone-throwing protesters near Tahrir Square, cauldron of the anti-Mubarak uprising. A car was torched on a nearby bridge.

A 46-year-old bystander was killed by a gunshot early today, a security source said. It was not clear who fired.

"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.


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