Morsi declares emergency in 3 cities, riots continue



Large protests in the Suez Canal city of Port Said and fresh clashes in Cairo Monday marked a fifth day of widening unrest in Egypt, a day after President Mohammed Morsi declared a state of emergency and a curfew in three major cities as escalating violence threatened his government and Egypt's democracy.

In Port Said, where the police lost control over the weekend and marchers Monday said they no longer recognized Morsi's authority, protesters chased away armoured personnel carriers with rocks and shoes during funeral procession for victims of the recent violence. Protesters also called for the city to ignore the 9 pm curfew.

In the capital Cairo, police fired tear gas at protesters at the foot of the Kasr el-Nile bridge, the scene of an epic battle during the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak exactly two years ago, on what was known as the "Day of Rage". Opposition groups have called for protests to commemorate the anniversary on Monday.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected president and a leader of the political arm of Muslim Brotherhood, took the step after four days of clashes in Cairo and in cities around the country between police and protesters denouncing his government. Most of the protests were set off by the second anniversary of the popular revolt that ousted Mubarak, which fell on Friday.

In Port Said, the trouble started over death sentences that a court imposed on 21 local soccer fans for their role in a deadly riot. But after 30 people died in clashes on Saturday — most of them shot by the police — the protesters turned their ire on Morsi as well the court. Police officers crouching on the roofs of their stations fired tear gas and live ammunition into attacking mobs, and hospital officials said on Sunday at least seven more people died.

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