Death toll in Egypt clashes rises to 52

2013-01-30 09:56:11 GMT2013-01-30 17:56:11(Beijing Time)
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies

Another three people have been killed in the political violence sweeping Egypt, medics said on Tuesday, pushing the death toll from five days of clashes to at least 52.

Two people died in fighting between protesters and security forces in the riot-hit canal city of Port Said on Monday, including one in front of a police station, medics said, while one person was shot dead in Cairo when protesters and police clashed near Tahrir Square.

President Mohammad Mursi on Sunday imposed a month-long state of emergency and night-time curfews on Port Said, Esmailiya and Suez, the three provinces most affected by the rioting.

But witnesses said thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of the three Suez Canal cities Monday night in defiance of the curfews.

Morsi heads to Germany on trip cut back by Egypt crisis

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi flew to Germany on Wednesday to convince Europe of his democratic credentials, leaving behind a country in crisis after a wave of violence that has killed more than 50 people.

The Egyptian army chief warned on Tuesday that the state was on the brink of collapse if political factions did not end the street battles that have resumed two years after the revolt that toppled long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Because of the crisis, Morsi has curtailed the schedule of his European visit, cancelling plans to go to Paris after Berlin. He is due to return to Cairo later on Wednesday.

Near Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday morning, dozens of protesters threw stones at police who fired back with teargas, although the scuffles were short-lived.

"Our demand is simply that Morsi goes, and leaves the country alone. He is just like Mubarak and his crowd who are now in prison," said Ahmed Mustafa, 28, a youth who had goggles on his head to protect his eyes from teargas.

Morsi's critics accuse him of betraying the spirit of the revolution by keeping too much power in his own hands and those of his Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement banned under Mubarak which won repeated elections since the 2011 uprising.

Morsi's supporters say the protesters want to overthrow Egypt's first democratically elected leader. The unrest has prevented a return to stability, worsening an economic crisis that has seen the pound currency tumble in recent weeks.

Morsi responded to the violence by announcing on Sunday a month-long state of emergency in three restive cities on the Suez Canal - Port Said, Ismailia and Suez - imposing a curfew and allowing soldiers to arrest civilians.

Protesters ignored the curfew and returned to the streets on Monday although the streets grew quieter on Tuesday. The worst violence has been in Port Said, where rage was fuelled by death sentences passed against soccer fans for deadly riots last year.

The instability has made the West uneasy about the direction of the Arab world's most populous country. Morsi will be keen to allay those fears when he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel and powerful industry groups in Berlin.


Editor: Mei Jingya
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