Cairo: Stricken by a wave of political unrest since last few days, Egypt risks a ‘collapse of state’, warned the country’s Army Chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday.
Army chief’s stern warning comes after over 60 people have been dead in Egypt’s clashes and riots that started Thursday and accelerated Friday when protests marking the two-year- anniversary of the start of the anti-Mubarak uprising turned to clashes around the country that left 11 dead, most of them in Suez.
Army chief’s comments were a part of address to the cadets at military academy and were posted on Egyptian Armed Forces’ Facebook page.
"The continuation of the conflict between the different political forces and their differences over how the country should be run could lead to the collapse of the state and threaten future generations," he said.
In spite of President Mursi imposing a 30-day state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in three hardest hit cities, protesters continued to defy the order and marched through Egypt`s three three Suez Canal cities of Suez, Ismailiya and Port Said.
Crowds marched through the streets of Port Said, beating drums and chanting, "Erhal, erhal," or "Leave, leave" — a chant that first rang out during the 18-day uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but is now directed at Mursi.
"We completely reject Mursi`s measures. How can we have a curfew in a city whose livelihood depends on commerce and tourism?" said Ahmed Nabil, a schoolteacher in the Mediterranean coastal city.
In Suez and Ismailiya, thousands in the streets after curfew chanted against Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which he hails. In Suez, residents let off fireworks that lit the night sky.
"Oh Mursi, Suez has real men," they chanted.
An unpredictable new element has entered Egypt’s wave of political unrest, a mysterious group of black-masked young men calling themselves the Black Bloc. They present themselves as the defenders of protesters against the rule of President Mohammed Mursi, but Islamists have used them to depict the opposition as a violent force wrecking the nation.
With Agency Inputs