Cairo: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Sunday imposeda curfew and a state of emergency in three provinces of Egypt in wake of the severe unrest and ongoing bloody clashes that killed more than 33 in Port Said, when a court announced the football riot verdict.
An emergency was declared in three cities of Egypt namely - Port Said, Suez and Ismalia – where the curfew would remain in effect for 30 days from 21:00 to 06:00, the BBC reported.
In an angry televised speech, Mursi roared that he wouldn’t hesitate from taking tougher action to abate violence.
Though at the same time he assured he wouldn’t take Egypt to another era of dictatorship as he said, “There is no going back on freedom, democracy and the supremacy of the law".
Mursi, in office since June, also invited the nation's political forces to a dialogue starting Monday to resolve the country's latest crisis. A statement issued later by his office said that among those invited were the country's top reform leader, Nobel peace Laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist politician who finished third in last year's presidential race.
The three are leaders of the National Salvation Front, an umbrella for the main opposition parties.
Khaled Dawoud, the Front's spokesman, said Mursi's invitation was meaningless unless he clearly states what is on the agenda. That, he added, must include amending a disputed constitution hurriedly drafted by the president's Islamist allies and rejected by the opposition.
He also faulted the president for not acknowledging his political responsibility for the latest bout of political violence.
The violence that was sparked on Saturday in Port Said, by a court conviction and death sentence for 21 defendants involved in a mass soccer riot, continued on Sunday when seven more people were killed on Sunday, pushing the toll for two days of clashes to at least 44.
Most of those sentenced to death were local soccer fans from Port Said, deepening a sense of persecution that Port Said's residents have felt since the stadium disaster, the worst soccer violence ever in Egypt.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Monday, January 28, 2013, 09:44