Deadly clashes between protesters and riot police continue to plague Egypt this week. At least 56 people have died. After several days of violence, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Three cities along the Suez Canal are now under a 30-day curfew: Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez. The state of emergency allows police to investigate, arrest and detain people without a trial.
Protesters began rioting in Port Said on Friday after the government sentenced 21 people to death. The defendants were convicted in connection with a soccer riot last February. Seventy-four soccer fans were killed in that incident. However, protesters say that the government is responsible for the deaths, not the 21 people who have been sentenced to die.
Morsi deployed the military in Suez and Port Said on Saturday. He 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. At the same time, Morsi sought to reassure Egyptians that he would not plunge the country back into authoritarianism.
Turmoil continues to afflict Egypt nearly seven months after Morsi took office. His actions as president reveal that he is not afraid to wield his new power. Watch for President Morsi to continue to strengthen his grip on Egypt. For more information on Egypt’s future, read our article “Egypt: Morsi Sheds His Moderate Cloak.” ▪