Egypt curfew scaled back as Mursi seeks end to bloodshed

Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:11pm EST
 
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By Edmund Blair and Alexandra Hudson

CAIRO/BERLIN (Reuters) - Egyptian authorities scaled back a curfew imposed by President Mohamed Mursi, and the Islamist leader cut short a visit to Europe on Wednesday to deal with the deadliest violence in the seven months since he took power.

Two more protesters were shot dead before dawn near Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Wednesday, a day after the army chief warned that the state was on the brink of collapse if Mursi's opponents and supporters did not end street battles.

More than 50 people have been killed in the past seven days of protests by Mursi's opponents marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Mursi imposed a curfew and a state of emergency on three Suez Canal cities on Sunday - Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. That only seemed to further provoke crowds. However, violence has mainly subsided in those towns since Tuesday.

Local authorities pushed back the start of the curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. in Ismailia and to 1:00 a.m. in Port Said and Suez.

"There has been progress in the security situation since Monday. Calm has returned," Suez Governor Samir Aglan said.

Mursi, speaking in Berlin before hurrying home to deal with the crisis, called for dialogue with opponents but would not commit to their demand that he first agree to include them in a unity government.

He sidestepped a question about a possible unity government, saying the next cabinet would be formed after parliamentary elections in April.   Continued...

 
A riot police officer stands in front of anti-Mursi protesters during clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)