President Mohamed Morsy announced a state of emergency in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia Sunday for 30 days, along with the imposition of a curfew from 9 pm to 6 am in a move to ease the escalation of violence in the cities, which since Friday have witnessed clashes that have killed at least 47 people.The protests in Port Said are against a court ruling imposing the death sentence on those responsible for the deaths of 72 people at a soccer stadium.
In a speech broadcast live on state TV, Morsy said he made these decisions after reviewing the Constitution, and that while he does not want to take extraordinary measures, he has been forced to do so, given the situation.
He added that if violence continues, he would be forced to take stricter measures to protect the country.
This is the first time for Morsy to take such measures, particularly the state of emergency, which will be enforced starting at midnight.
Egypt was ruled under an emergency law for 30 years under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The state of emergency gives police ultimate powers to question or detain citizens and was seen as a tool of Mubarak’s repression. The military council that ruled the country during its post-revolution transition lifted the law in May 2011.
The Suez and Ismailia incidents, however, were anti-government riots.
Opposition groups slammed Morsi's declaration.
Last week, Morsi blamed "remnants of the Hosni Mubarak regime" for trying to cause economic problems for the nation.