Following an extended weekend of protests from its liberal and more secular opponents, the Egyptian government of President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday—in a move reminiscent of the former Mubarak regime—declared "states of emergency" in cities across the country, suspending normal governance and imposing a de facto martial law.
Al-Jazeera reports that clashes continued Monday for the fifth consecutive day and that state police forces "fired tear-gas at protesters in downtown Cairo, just hours after Morsi declared a state of emergency and a curfew in three Suez Canal cities."
The Egypt Independent reports:
In a speech broadcast live on state TV, Morsi said he made these decisions after reviewing the Constitution, and that while he does not want to take extraordinary measures, he has been forced to do so, given the situation.
He added that if violence continues, he would be forced to take stricter measures to protect the country.
This is the first time for Morsi to take such measures, particularly the state of emergency, which will be enforced starting at midnight.
Egypt was ruled under an emergency law for 30 years under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The state of emergency gives police ultimate powers to question or detain citizens and was seen as a tool of Mubarak’s repression. The military council that ruled the country during its post-revolution transition lifted the law in May 2011.