Egypt’s military chief warned on Tuesday that the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.
“The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who is also defence minister, said on his Facebook page.
He further warned that the political, economic, social and security problems facing Egypt constitute “a threat to the country’s security and stability,” and vowed to defend vital infrastructure, including the Suez Canal.
Sissi’s warning comes as medics on Tuesday reported another three people killed in the violence sweeping Egypt, pushing to at least 52 the death toll from five days of clashes.
Two people died in fighting between protesters and security forces in the riot-hit canal city of Port Said, and one was shot dead in Cairo when protesters and police clashed near Tahrir Square, the capital’s iconic hub of protest.
On Sunday, President Mohamed Morsi imposed a month-long state of emergency and night-time curfews on Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez, the three provinces most affected by the rioting.
But witnesses said thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of the three Suez Canal cities Monday night in defiance of the curfews.
The protesters chanted slogans against Islamist rule in Egypt, “Fall, fall the rule of the guide (of the Muslim Brotherhood), referring to Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood.
Picture: An Egyptian protester wearing goggles for protection during a demonstration near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 28, 2013. Egypt’s military chief has warned the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.
Egypt has already deployed troops to Port Said and Suez provinces, at each end of the canal that Sissi said the army would defend.
“The deployment of the army in Port Said and Suez aims to protect strategic infrastructure, especially the Suez Canal, which we will not allow to be harmed,” Sissi said.
But he said the army’s task was difficult.
It does “not want to confront Egyptian citizens who have a right to protest” but it “has to protect vital institutions.”
Picture: Map locating the three cities most affected by recent unrest in Egypt. Egypt’s military chief has warned that the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.
With the unrest showing no signs of abating, Egypt’s Islamist-dominated Senate ratified on Monday a law granting the armed forces powers of arrest.
Opposition groups and disgruntled Egyptians accuse Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists of monopolising power and say the revolution failed to reach its goals of social justice.
The violence first erupted on Thursday. It gained momentum on Friday, when protests marking the second anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak turned into clashes around the country.
Picture: An Egyptian protester flashes the victory sign near a burning police vehicle during clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 28, 2013. Egypt’s military chief has warned the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.
Soon after the verdicts, rioters attacked police stations and the prison where the defendants were being held, sparking clashes with security forces that left 42 people dead at the weekend.
Fighting between police and anti-Morsi protesters have also broken out daily in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but the capital was calm on Tuesday morning.
The crisis looks set to deepen after the National Salvation Front, a coalition of mainly liberal and leftist movements, called for countrywide protests on Friday after rejecting an offer from Morsi to hold talks.
Picture: An Egyptian protester prepares to throw back a tear gas canister at riot police during clashes near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 28, 2013. Egypt’s military chief has warned the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.
Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sissi
watches a display of military manouvers in the eastern Sinai on October 18, 2012.
Sissi has warned that the political crisis rocking the country could lead to the collapse of the state.
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What makes Rescue Christians different from most others?
Most organizations have a mission for alleviating Christian persecution by predominantly focusing on providing Bibles, evangelizing non-Christians and sending representatives around the world to inform others about persecution.
We are unique from most others in that we focus ALL our efforts on actually saving Christians from being liquidated.