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Hundreds defy curfew to join in rally against Morsi

Man shot in 5th day of violence

Anti-Morsi protesters standing on a riot police vehicle after they seized it on the Kasr Elnile bridge to Tahrir Square late in Cairo yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Anti-Morsi protesters standing on a riot police vehicle after they seized it on the Kasr Elnile bridge to Tahrir Square late in Cairo yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Hundreds of anti-government protesters took to the streets of the Egyptian cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez late yesterday in defiance of President Mohamed Morsi’s declaration of a curfew and a state of emergency after days of deadly unrest.

The crowds shouted, “Down down with Mohamed Morsi, down down with the state of emergency,” in Ismailia and similar slogans were heard in the other cities along the Suez Canal.

Yesterday a man was shot dead in the fifth day of violence that has killed 50 Egyptians and prompted the Islamist President to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the biggest Arab nation.

Emergency rule announced by President Morsi on Sunday covers the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.

The army has already been deployed in two of those cities and ministers agreed a measure to let soldiers arrest civilians.

A Cabinet source said any trials would be in civilian courts, but the step is likely to anger protesters who accuse Morsi of using high-handed tactics of the kind they fought against to oust his military predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s politics have become deeply polarised since two years ago, when protesters were making the running in the Arab Spring revolutions that sent shockwaves through the region and Islamists and liberals lined up together.

Although Islamists have won parliamentary and presidential elections, the disparate opposition has since united against Morsi.

Last year he moved to expand his powers and pushed a constitution with a perceived Islamist bias through a referendum. This was punctuated by street violence.

Morsi’s national dialogue meeting yesterday to help end the crisis was spurned by his main opponents.

They say Morsi hijacked the revolution, listens only to his Islamist allies and broke a promise to be a president for all Egyptians. Islamists say their rivals want to overthrow Egypt’s first freely elected leader by undemocratic means.

Thousands of anti-Morsi protesters were out on the streets again in Cairo and elsewhere on yesterday, the second anniversary of one of the bloodiest days in the revolution which erupted on January 25, 2011 and ended Mubarak’s iron rule 18 days later.

In Cairo yesterday, police fired volleys of teargas at stone-throwing protesters near Tahrir Square, the cauldron of the anti-Mubarak uprising.

A car was torched on a nearby bridge.

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