Egypt toll rises to 50 as opposition rejects talks

Egypt toll rises to 50 as opposition rejects talks

A man was shot dead yesterday in a fifth day of violence in Egypt that has killed 50 people and prompted the Islamist president to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world's biggest nation.

Under emergency powers announced by President Mohammed Morsi for the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez on Sunday, the army will have the right to arrest civilians and to help police restore order.

A Cabinet source said any trials would be before civilian courts, but the step is likely to anger protesters who accuse Morsi of using high-handed security tactics of the kind they fought against to oust president Hosni Mubarak.

In Cairo yesterday, police fired volleys of teargas at stone-throwing protesters in and around Tahrir Square. A 46-year-old bystander was killed by a gunshot, a security source at the Interior Ministry said.

Egypt's main opposition bloc has called for demonstrations nationwide on Friday to achieve the "goals of the revolution," after turning down an invitation by Morsi for talks.

A statement called "on the Egyptian people to take to the streets in all Tahrir Squares (across the nation) on Friday to stress the sanctity of the blood of the martyrs and achieve the goals of the revolution."

Morsi invited leaders of the National Salvation Front opposition coalition to join him and other politicians in a national dialogue but the bloc rejected his call as "empty of content."

The political unrest has been exacerbated by street violence linked to death penalties imposed on soccer supporters convicted of involvement in stadium rioting a year ago.

Egypt's politics have become deeply polarized since those heady days two years ago, when protesters were making most of the running in the Arab Spring revolutions that sent shockwaves through the region.

Although Islamists have won parliamentary and presidential elections, the disparate opposition has since united against Morsi. Last year he moved to expand his powers and push a constitution with Islamist leanings through a referendum punctuated by violent street protests.

Morsi's opponents accuse him of hijacking the revolution. They say too many hold-outs from the Mubarak era remain in their posts. Islamists say their rivals want to overthrow by undemocratic means Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Instability in Egypt has raised concerns in Western capitals, where officials worry about the direction of a key regional player that has signed a peace deal with Israel.


Demonstrator killed in Egypt’s Port Said

A young man has been shot and killed in clashes near a police station in Port Said, a hospital source said.

Violent protests continue across Egypt despite the curfew that came as part of a state of emergency currently in effect there.

The man was killed as a crowd of protesters reportedly tried to attack a police station in Port Said.

"The youth died on his way to a hospital in the city of Zagazig," the source told AFP.

Thousands took to the streets of Port Said Monday during the funerals of the most recent victims of the clashes.

After Port Said's Sunday clashes ended in the deaths of seven people, President Morsi set curfews in the country's most volatile cities.

The 9pm to 6am curfew is currently in place in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia.