Egypt could fall apart if current unrest continues — army chief
The head of Egypt’s military warned on Tuesday the ongoing unrest in the country could lead to the breakup of the state, Reuters reported.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said: "The continuation of the struggle of the different political forces ... over the management of state affairs could lead to the collapse of the state," adding that the army was scrambling to protect the strategically vital Suez Canal.
Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets in Port Said and other cities in the last four days, following the sentencing of 21 people to death for involvement in violence at a football match in 2011. At least 60 people have died and hundreds have been injured during clashes with the security forces.
President Mohammed Morsi declared a state of emergency in the area on Sunday, and gave the military sweeping powers of arrest on Monday, effectively re-introducing martial law. Protestors ignored a curfew imposed on three cities, including Port Said, an opposition leaders rebuffed a call for dialogue made on Sunday.
The Port Said protestors have called for a separate state to be established in the Suez region, prompting concern from observers that a civil conflict could be brewing.
The White house said it “strongly condemns” the latest wave of violence and welcomed President Morsi’s call for dialogue with opposition parties on Monday.
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- Egypt's ElBaradei calls out for talks to end the violence
- Morsi declares martial law in parts of Egypt after days of clashes
- Egypt's leaders meet for crisis talks called for by top cleric
- Morsi mulls handing over control to the army in Port Said