Mohammed Morsi Imposes State of Emergency After Weekend of Violence

4798President Mohammed Morsi has imposed a state of emergency in Egypt after another weekend of violence claimed more than 40 lives.

Al Ahly fans celebrate and shout slogans in front of the Al Ahly club after hearing the final verdict of the 2012 Port Said massacre in Cairo Photo: REUTERS
Five people died on Sunday at funerals for some of the 31 people killed the day before, hospital officials said, after protests against death sentences handed down to football rioters were met with live fire as well as tear gas.

In an especially worrying development, protesters were also armed and fired shots at police lines.

The weekend violence in Port Said, at the Mediterranean end of the Suez Canal, followed fighting in cities across the country on Friday, the second anniversary of the Tahrir Square revolution. At least nine people were killed, bringing the weekend total to 45, with over 1,100 injured.

Mr Morsi has now responded to the violence, announcing a state of emergency in Suez, Ismalia and Port Said for 30 days.

Earlier, one leading member of Mr Morsi's own Muslim Brotherhood had called on him to "step in with full force".

"What are you waiting for to interfere?" Mohammed el-Beltagy, a former MP said. "You need to stop the arson attacks, blocking roads, bridges and tunnels and provide security. It is your duty to immediately intervene to face this thuggery through all legitimate means provided by the constitution and the law, including declaring an emergency state."

The EU and Britain both called for calm. Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, said: "We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to ensure that all protests remain peaceful."

The funerals in Port Said were typical of Egypt's recent chaos. As the procession passed the police and army clubs, mourners began throwing stones over the walls, according to some witnesses. Others say the immediate response, tear gas fired from inside, was unprovoked.

Source: | Magdy Samaan, Port Said and Richard Spencer in Cairo
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