Saturday’s riots erupted after a Cairo court handed down death sentences to 21 Port Said football supporters on charges of instigating last year’s clashes at a football match.
The battle between rival supporters on February 1 2012 claimed 74 lives.
Voice of Russia, TASS
The situation in Egypt remains tense as the country’s opposition continues to hold protest rallies against the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi canceled his planned visit to Ethiopia, where he was due to take part the African Union’s summit scheduled for January 27. Also, he recalled Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil from the Swiss city of Davos, where he participated in the World Economic Forum.
Additionally, Morsi held an emergency meeting of the National Defense Council which announced the country’s right to impose a state of emergency in those districts that were hit by armed clashes. On Saturday night, unrest was reported in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and Port Said, where dozens of people were killed and hundreds more injured. The Muslim Brotherhood warned that the army and police would be allowed to open fire on protesters if their actions posed a threat to strategically important infrastructure facilities.
Mass riots and armed clashes began in Egypt during celebrations of the second anniversary of the ‘January 25 Revolution.’ In 2011, it led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Like in 2011, Cairo’s Tahrir Square became Egypt’s current main protest center.
Protesters are demanding the return of the Egyptian Revolution, ‘stolen’ by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Russian experts warn of tougher times ahead for Mohammed Morsi, a stance that is echoed by prominent Oriental expert Leonid Isayev. He says that Egypt is on the verge of an economic collapse.
"Egypt may soon turn into a debtor country because Cairo has repeatedly got loans from various international organizations and other countries, Isayev says. Not to mention that Egypt has lost its international and regional clout, something that was not the case with previous years, when the country expanded its political footprint in the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is safe to assume therefore that Egypt is losing its clout in all directions."
The standoff between Morsi supporters and the opposition shows no signs of abating as Egypt’s National Salvation Front has demanded the creation of a national salvation government. Morsi, for his part, made it plain that he will only sit down for talks with Egypt’s independent politicians.