Top News: President Morsi declares state of emergency in Canal cities, NSF rejects calls for dialogue

Egypt Protests AP.jpg

Egypt President Mohamed Morsi  Sunday declared a 30-day state of emergency in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, and called for national dialogue. The NSF, along with other members of the opposition, have rejected these calls. 


President Morsi declares state of emergency in Suez Canal cities
Egypt President Mohamed Morsi has on Sunday declared a 30-day state of emergency in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, the three governorates which have witnessed deadly clashes since the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution on 25 Jan. During a speech broadcast on state television, the under-fire Morsi has also said a curfew will be imposed in the three cities from 9 pm to 6 am during the duration of the emergency state in an attempt to curb increasing violence. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, SIS, Reuters, 1/27/2013]

Cabinet draft law grants Armed Forces arrest powers, Qandil calls for dealing firmly with saboteurs
The Egyptian Cabinet on Monday proposed a law which would grant the Armed Forces with judicial powers to arrest civilians, saying the procedure would assist police in maintaining security. The legal committee at the Shura Council has approved the law, and it will be widely discussed by the council during the afternoon session. According to the law, the military will act as a police force, which means suspects will be referred to a civilian, rather than military, trial. In a telephone conversation with Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Qandil stressed the need to deal firmly with saboteurs who attack police troops and vital facilities. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, SIS, 1/28/2013]

Egypt’s Islamist parties welcome president’s state-of-emergency decision
The Salafist Nour Party "has it concerns" about President Mohamed Morsi’s Sunday night declaration of a state of emergency in Egypt’s canal cities, party spokesman Nader Bakkar said in a Monday statement. However, Bakkar said the party "understands the need for such a decision," adding that "the state of emergency should be used in the narrowest limits against those carrying illegal arms and terrorizing other citizens." Bakkar went on to commend the president for thanking the police, who, he said, had "succeeded in protecting people’s lives and securing the Port Said prison." Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya also announced its support for Morsi’s decision to declare a state of emergency in Egypt’s canal cities. [Ahram Online, 1/28/2013]

Egypt’s National Salvation Front sets five demands for President Morsi
Egypt’s main opposition grouping, the National Salvation Front (NSF), has urged President Mohamed Morsi to respond positively to five demands announced by the group or face mass peaceful protests. Holding the president responsible for the violence, the NSF called for the formation of an investigative committee to punish those responsible for the bloodshed, called for amendments to the constitution, the formation of a national salvation government, halting the constitutional declaration, and calling for the Muslim Brotherhood to be subject to the law, “after being a main element in the country’s administration for almost a year with no legal or legitimate foundation.” Amr Moussa’s Conference party also called for the postponement of parliamentary elections. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/26/2012]

Egypt’s National Salvation Front,Socialist Popular Alliance reject dialogue with Morsi
The National Salvation Front will met at the Wafd Party headquarters to decide how it will respond to Morsi’s call for a national dialogue. Speaking for the National Salvation Front at the conclusion of an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, Mohamed ElBaradei said President Mohamed Morsi’s invitation for a national dialogue at 6pm was "unserious," and "could only lead to a dead end." The NSF threatened on Monday to hold early presidential elections if President Mohamed Mursi failed to respond to its demands. Hamdeen Sabbahi, the leader of the Popular Current, said the front supports peaceful protests, declared solidarity with anti-Morsi protesters across the country, and called for the dismissal of the minister of interior after the deaths of more than 40 demonstrators in the past 72 hours. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party has also rejected Morsi’s call for a national dialogue. President Morsi responded by saying the dialogue will take place on schedule despite the NSF’s rejection of the invitation. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh’s Strong Egypt Party has accepted the invitation. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, AP, Ahram (Arabic), Watan (Arabic), Youm7 (Arabic), Aswat Masriaya, 1/28/2013]

Also of Interest:
Shura Council to form fact-finding committee over Port Said violence | Egypt Independent
Muslim Brotherhood: Opposition ‘spreading sabotage’ | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Egypt MPs call for anti-riot law | Ahram Online
Parties react to Morsi’s speech | DNE


Emergency law in Egypt needs Shura Council approval: Constitution
In response to a recent wave of deadly clashes throughout the country, President Mohamed Morsi imposed a 30-day state of emergency – including daily curfews – in the canal cities of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said. Egypt’s new constitution, however, requires that the Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt’s parliament) approve the move within seven days of its application. According to Article 148 of the newly-approved charter, the president of the republic can only declare a state of emergency after consulting with Egypt’s cabinet. The declaration should then be submitted to the lower house of parliament within seven days. In the event that there is no sitting lower house, as is the case in Egypt now, the proclamation should be referred to the Shura Council for approval. In all cases, the state of emergency should only be applied for a limited period which may not exceed six months. It can only be extended further through a popular referendum. [Ahram Online, 1/28/2013]

Military court postpones ruling on Qursaya clashes
A military court has postponed its verdict on the 25 civilians from Qursaya Island involved in clashes with the military to 27 February. Residents of Qursaya briefly Bahr al-Azam Road, the main road leading in and out of the island, when the decision was announced, according to No to Military Trials Campaign member Mahmoud Salmawy. Giza Security head Ahmed Salem al-Naghy convinced protesters to end their sit-in after promising to arrange a meeting between them and the Armed Forces central command to discuss their detained relatives. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 1/28/2013]

Also of Interest:
Public Prosecution orders Tahrir rape investigation | Egypt Independent


Egypt pounds dips, avoids panic after weekend violence
Egypt’s pound weakened against the dollar on Sunday, as street violence and deaths added to the political crisis, extending a steady decline at the central bank’s foreign exchange auctions since their launch last month. One analyst said trading was cautious but not panicked after a weekend of flare-ups across Egypt that killed at least 41 people. Repeated eruptions of violence have weighed heavily on the pound, which has been hitting fresh lows against the dollar. [Ahram Online/Reuters, 1/27/2013]

Egypt new income tax will not exceed 25 per cent: Official
Egypt is not planning to raise its top income tax bracket rate above 25 per cent, Osama Tawakol, the deputy finance minister, said on Sunday. Tawakol assured that the idea behind the new income tax rates was to include larger portions of the population and channel extra funds to the most underprivileged; he also denied rumours that a 35 per cent tax will be imposed on individuals with a yearly income over LE25 million. "Once the government decreased the income tax to an average of 20 per cent, government revenues increased substantially and cases of tax evasion decreased," claims Tawakol. [Ahram Online, 1/28/2013]

Also of interest:
Egypt’s stocks slip as death toll rises in street protests | Ahram Online
As Egypt’s economy suffers, Gulf money moves into banking sector | Egypt Independent
Banks instate currency exchange regulations | DNE


Armed Forces tighten security at Aswan High Dam
Security was beefed up at the Aswan High Dam on Monday to protect construction work, as protests continue in Cairo and several governorates between police and protesters against President Mohamed Morsy. A source at the dam’s managing authority told Anadolu news agency that the facility is now fully under the control of the Armed Forces. "Over the past two years, during which the country witnessed instances of chaos and security voids, the High Dam… enjoys permanent security measures against sabotage or robbery,” the source told the news agency. [Egypt Independent, 1/28/2012]

Egypt military denies using live bullets in Port Said clashes
An Egyptian military spokesperson has denied the armed forces used live ammunition against protesters in Port Said on Saturday. "The armed forces did not use live ammunition against protesters. Its mission in Port Said is centred on securing national strategic sites that affect the lives of citizens," military spokesperson Ahmed Ali said on his official Facebook page. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 1/27/2013]

Also of Interest:
Police station raided in Suez, prisoners flee | Ahram Online
Minister of interior forced to leave police funeral | DNE


Two days of protests and violence leave Egypt on edge
Political turmoil, instability, and polarization deepened in Egypt in the last two days as angry protesters lash out at president Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and the police.
At least 40 people were killed in nationwide clashes between protesters and security forces in the past 48 hours as opposition forces escalate their rhetoric against the incumbent Muslim Brotherhood regime. On the second anniversary of the 2011 revolution Friday, hundreds of thousands hit the streets chanting slogans against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Protests turned violent with hundreds of injuries reported in Cairo, Alexandria, Beheira, Luxor, Kafr El-Sheikh, Gharbia, Sharqia, Ismailia and Suez. [Ahram Online, 1/26/2013]

Clashes continue on Nile corniche in downtown Cairo, dozens arrested throughout the country
In Cairo, violent clashes between protesters and security forces continued into Monday near Qasr El-Nil Bridge. Clashes continued throughout Sunday night with particularly heavy use of tear gas, from three different points around Tahrir Square, after President Morsi’s speech at around 10pm. Dozens of protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police near the Qasr El-Nil entrance to Tahrir Square. Police responded with dense volleys of tear gas in an attempt to push protesters back into the square.Two women arrested from their house in Qasr al-Aini Street, Cairo on Saturday evening were released on Monday. Six were arrested in front of the Qasr Al-Nile police station Friday In Tanta, 13 were arrested on Friday, while 11 were arrested in Mahalla. Both sets of detainees were referred to prosecution Saturday.[Ahram Online, DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/28/2013]

Also of interest:
Port Said death toll reaches 38 | Egypt Independent
Thousands attend funerals in Port Said on Monday | Egypt Independent
Seven killed Sunday in Port Said mass funeral clashes on Sunday | Ahram Online
Media reports contradict official death and injury figures in Egypt clashes | Ahram Online
19 Sexual Harassment cases in Tahrir, Sky News reporter assaulted in Alexandria | DNE
Roundup of governorates’ clashes | DNE


EU, Britain condemn escalation of violence
Britain and the European Union denounced the violence that followed the Port Said massacre verdict which sentenced 21 people to death on Saturday. Britain strongly condemned the violence, calling for maximum restraint after at least 30 people were killed in Port Said. British foreign office minister Alistair Burt expressed his concern, saying the violence “cannot help the process of dialogue which we encourage as vital for Egypt today, and we must condemn the violence in the strongest terms.” [DNE, 1/27/2013]

Also of Interest:
Hamas says next inter-Palestinian talks in Egypt | AP
Egypt denies deporting Palestinians to Syria | DNE
US counterterrorism head arrives in Cairo | DNE

Photo: AP

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