President Mohamed Mursi Sunday declared a state of emergency in three provinces hit by rioting which has left dozens dead, warning he was ready to take further steps to confront threats to Egypt’s security.
Emergency measures would come into effect in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia “for 30 days starting at midnight (2200 GMT Sunday),” Mursi said in an address on state television.
Curfews would be imposed on the same three provinces from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am, he added.
“I have said I am against any emergency measures but I have said that if I must stop bloodshed and protect the people then I will act,” Mursi said.
He warned that he was ready to take further measures if the deadly violence that swept over Egypt since Friday does not end.
“If I must I will do much more for the sake of Egypt. This is my duty and I will not hesitate,” the president warned.
He also held out an olive branch to the opposition and political leaders across Egypt, inviting them for talks on Monday, saying “there is no alternative to dialogue.”
“I have decided to invite all political leaders to a dialogue tomorrow. A presidential statement with all the details will be issued later,” Mursi said.
“There is no going back to freedom and democracy… the rule of law and social justice that the revolution has paved.”
His comments came after rioting sparked by death sentences being passed on fans of a local football team rocked Egypt’s Port Said for a second straight day on Sunday, leaving another six people dead and more than 460 injured, medics said.
Morsi insisted that the verdicts that triggered the violence “must be respected by all of us.”
He condemned the violence as “a violation of the law and a violation of the revolution.”
The president also said he had instructed the interior ministry to “use all decisive force against those who attack the security of the people, government buildings, those who use weapons, block roads, those who throw stones on innocents…”