Mohammed Mursi

Egypt opposition rejects talks with Mohammed Mursi, urges protests

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 3:59am


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Egypt's main opposition bloc has called for demonstrations nationwide on Friday, after turning down an invitation by President Mohammed Mursi for talks.

This move came as the Egyptian cabinet approved a draft law that would allow Mursi to deploy the armed forces on the streets "to participate with the police in preserving security and protecting vital establishments".

Emergency rule announced by Mursi on Sunday covers the cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. The army has already been deployed in two of those cities and the cabinet approved a measure to let soldiers arrest civilians.

In the latest clashes, riot police fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters in central Cairo yesterday, and one protester died of gunshot wounds, health and security officials said.

Angry and at times, screaming and wagging his finger, Mursi went on national television on Sunday night and declared a 30-day state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.

Mursi also called for a national dialogue meeting to help end the crisis but the opposition said the proposal was not genuine and the group will only attend future talks if a list of conditions are met, members said.

"We will not go to the dialogue today," Dr Mohamed ElBaradei told a news conference in Cairo. "We will send a message to the Egyptian people and the president of the republic about what we think are the essentials for dialogue.

"If he agrees to them, we are ready for dialogue," he said, flanked by former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and leftist Hamdeen Sabahi.

A statement issued later called "on the Egyptian people to take to the streets in all Tahrir Squares (across the nation) on Friday to stress the sanctity of the blood of the martyrs and achieve the goals of the revolution".

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters