Protestors defy curfew imposed on Suez (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The three Suez Canal cities of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said are witnessing mass demonstrations in defiance of the regional curfew that was announced Sunday night by President Mohamed Morsi after several days of violent clashes.
On Monday evening, thousands demonstrating in each city chanted anti-Morsi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans, ignoring the 9pm to 6am curfew mandated by Morsi, who also imposed a state of emergency on the embattled cities.
The shops and street cafes of Suez are still open, according to an Ahram Online reporter. The army, for its part, is not interfering or trying to impose the curfew.
In Ismailia, residents organised football games in front of the governorate headquarters in a show of defiance, reported privately-owned newspaper El-Badil.
Thousands are also demonstrating in the city of Port Said, chanting that they will not accept such "undemocratic measures" after the January 25 revolution, and holding President Morsi responsible for the killings over the past few days. Demonstrators also demanded the interior minister be replaced.
Neither the army nor police have interfered.
Port Said has lost at least 39 of its citizens during clashes with police over the past two days. Violence erupted on Saturday after a court verdict was issued giving 21 Port Said residents the death sentence for involvement in the Port Said football violence of last year, which left more than 70 fans of Ahly football club dead.
Suez and Ismailia also witnessed clashes with police on Friday, the day marking the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution, during demonstrations.
Violent clashes have continued sporadically in all three cities, as well as in other cities and governorates around Egypt such as Damanhour, Alexandria and Kafr El-Sheikh. At the time of writing, clashes were ongoing in Cairo.
The president has called for an immediate national dialogue, which started on Monday and included several political party representatives. The umbrella opposition group the National Salvation Front, which includes key leftist and liberal actors, rejected the invitation, describing it as a "fake" dialogue.