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Deadly clashes in Egypt

- January 29, 2013 - Updated 550 PKT - From Web Edition

CAIRO: Deadly unrest gripped Egypt for a fifth straight day on Monday as the main opposition bloc turned down an invitation to hold talks with President Mohamed Morsi and called instead for fresh mass protests.


A man was killed as police and protesters clashed in Cairo and lobbed rocks at each other on a bridge in an underpass leading to the capital's iconic Tahrir Square as tear gas hung heavily in the air.


Medics later said one person was shot dead late Monday outside a police station in Port Said, where dozens of people have been killed in confrontations between demonstrators and police since Saturday.


The latest clashes in the capital continued sporadically throughout the day, witnesses said, accusing gunmen of opening fire on the demonstrators from rooftops.


"There are many people wounded by gunfire," Ahmad Doma, an activist at the scene, told AFP in the evening.


A security source said two officers and nine soldiers were also injured in clashes around Tahrir Square, and that protesters torched two personnel carriers.


As the unrest showed no signs of abating, Egypt's Senate ratified a law that would grant the armed forces powers of arrest, a day after Morsi announced a crackdown.


Morsi on Sunday declared a month-long state of emergency in Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya provinces where around 50 people were killed and hundreds wounded over the weekend.


He also slapped night-time curfews on the three provinces after attacks on police stations following death sentences passed on Saturday against 21 supporters of a Port Said football club over stadium violence last year that killed 74 people.


But thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya after the 9:00 pm curfew went into effect in defiance of the measure, witnesses said.


Mahmud Abu al-Majd, who spoke to AFP on the phone from Port Said, said: "We are on the streets because no one can impose their will on us. We won't bow to the government."


Earlier in the day, hundreds of mourners marched in Port Said on a second day of funerals for those killed in the canal city. And hundreds more took to the streets of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the official MENA news agency reported.


Although most of the bloodshed has focused on Port Said, the violence erupted on Thursday in Cairo on the eve of the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, with police and protesters clashing.

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