Protesters hit Egypt's streets to defy curfew
CAIRO: Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Egypt's three Suez Canal cities in defiance of a night-time curfew imposed by the President, Mohammed Mursi, after dozens were killed in clashes with police.
Witnesses said protesters took to the streets of Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez City on Monday night to stage ''breaking the curfew'' demonstrations as the 9pm deadline went into effect.
We are on the streets because no one can impose their will on us. We won't bow to the government.
The protesters chanted slogans against Islamist rule in Egypt, ''Fall, Fall the rule of the guide (of the Muslim Brotherhood)'', referring to Dr Mursi who hails from the Brotherhood.
An Egyptian protester at night. Photo: AFP
Mahmud Abu al-Majd, from Port Said, said: ''We are on the streets because no one can impose their will on us. We won't bow to the government.''
In Ismailiya, witnesses said the protesters decided to hold football matches on the streets as part of their protests.
Yet, for all those who took to the streets on Monday, there were just as many who stayed home, believing Dr Mursi has not had a chance to solve Egypt's intractable corruption and economic problems. They say protesters should honour the June election results that elevated Dr Mursi to the presidency, and speak at the ballot box in coming parliamentary and eventually presidential elections.
Emergency mode … Mohammed Mursi. Photo: Reuters
''Don't tell me people are going to the street because they have a hard life,'' Mohammed Noor, 26, of Port Said, said.
''They are taking revenge for the killings. It is like waves of vengeance. It will continue until one side gets tired or this turns into a real revolution with real leaders,'' he said.
Dr Mursi declared on Sunday a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya after they were hit by deadly riots that left about 50 dead and hundreds wounded
In a television address, he also slapped curfews on the provinces from 9pm to 6am.
Monday's clashes continued the trend of violent protests that began two months ago. No one could say where the demonstrations might lead. While some protesters said they wanted Dr Mursi to step down, none knew who should replace him.
The main opposition grouping, the National Salvation Front, which is fractured among many smaller parties, said on Monday it would not hold national reconciliation talks with Dr Mursi, a position, some protesters said, made it seem as tone deaf as the President.
Protesters also rejected a military takeover, noting the generals had assumed power after Hosni Mubarak stepped down and had failed in 18 months of rule to bring about reform.
The White House has condemned the unrest.
''We strongly condemn the recent violence that has taken place in various Egyptian cities,'' the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said.
Agence France-Presse, McClatchy Newspapers