Egypt Protests: Morsi Issues State of Emergency After Dozens Killed in Riots

A curfew was to begin Monday after Egypt’s president declared a state of emergency in three Suez Canal provinces hit hardest by a weekend wave of unrest that left more than 50 dead and plunged the nation further into turmoil.

President Mohammed Morsi’s declaration was reminiscent of the tactics used by the country’s ousted regime to get a grip on discontent. This time, the anger is fueled by his Islamist policies and the slow pace of change.

Angry and almost screaming, Morsi vowed in a televised address on Sunday night that he would not hesitate to take even more action to stem the latest eruption of violence across much of the country. But at the same time, he sought to reassure Egyptians that his latest moves would not take the country back into authoritarianism.

“There is no going back on freedom, democracy and the supremacy of the law,” he said.

The worst violence this weekend was in the Mediterranean coastal city of Port Said, where seven people were killed on Sunday, pushing the toll for two days of clashes to at least 44. The unrest was sparked on Saturday by a court conviction and death sentence for 21 defendants involved in a mass soccer riot in the city’s main stadium on Feb. 1, 2012 that left 74 dead.

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