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Egyptian Curfew Cut Amid Widening Concern
January 30, 2013

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The Egyptian Government has announced a reduction of the curfew in three Suez Canal cities, in response to continued violence and the army chief's warning that the Government's future was dire. Meanwhile, President Mohamed Morsi cut short a visit to Europe to return to Cairo, and opposition leader Mohamed El-Baradei reiterated a call for a national unity government.

Morsi, in Berlin for a long-ago scheduled meeting with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, rejected the idea of a change in government, so soon after he had affixed his signature to the country's new constitution, but did sanction a curtailing of the curfew from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. (in Ismailia) and 1 a.m. (in Port Said and Suez). The curfew will continue to begin at 9 p.m.

Despite the ban on nighttime activity, protesters continued to make their presence in the streets of all three cities, and in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The level of violence has dropped sharply, however.

Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had earlier warned that continued widespread violence could lead to a breakdown in security. Already, the national currency had dropped in the wake of the continued unrest, deepening an already dire economic situation.

El-Baradei, leader of the National Salvation Front, called on Morsi to insist that opposition representatives be part of the new government. The president, though, has insisted that he will wait until parliamentary elections have taken place in April before naming members of his Cabinet.

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