CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Egypt's Mursi declares emergency after clashes kill dozens

(Corrects day in paragraph 4 to Monday)

* Death toll in five days of violence now at 49

* Curfew imposed on Port Said, Ismailia and Suez

* President Mursi calls for national dialogue

* Sceptical opposition to review invitation

CAIRO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi

declared a month-long state of emergency in three cities on the

Suez Canal, where dozens of people have been killed in protests

that have swept the nation and deepened a political crisis

facing the Islamist leader.

Hundreds of demonstrators in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia

turned out against the decision within moments of Mursi's

announcement late on Sunday that came after the death toll from

protests and violence that erupted last week hit 49 people.

Most deaths were in Port Said, where 40 people were killed

in just two days. Riots were sparked on Saturday when a court

sentenced to death several people from the city in a case of

deadly soccer violence last year. Mourners at Sunday's funerals

in the port, where guns are common, turned their rage on Mursi.

The violence in Egyptian cities has now extended to a fifth

day. Police again fired volleys of teargas at dozens of youths

hurling stones early on Monday near Cairo's Tahrir Square, where

opponents have camped for weeks to protest against Mursi, who

they say betrayed the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak

two years ago.

"We want to bring down the regime and end the state that is

run by the Muslim Brotherhood," said Ibrahim Eissa, a

26-year-old cook, protecting his face from teargas wafting

towards him from police lines near Tahrir, the cauldron of the

2011 revolt.

Propelled to power in a June election by the Brotherhood,

Mursi's presidency has lurched through a series of political

crises and violent demonstrations, compounding his task of

shoring up a teetering economy and preparing for a parliamentary

election to cement the new democracy in a few months.

"The protection of the nation is the responsibility of

everyone. We will confront any threat to its security with force

and firmness within the remit of the law," Mursi said, offering

condolences to families of victims in the canal zone cities.

Appealing to his opponents, the president called for a

national dialogue on Monday at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT), inviting a

range of Islamist allies as well as liberal, leftist and other

opposition groups and individuals to discuss the crisis.


The main opposition National Salvation Front coalition said

it would meet on Monday to discuss the offer. But some opponents

have already suggested they do not expect much from the

gathering, raising the prospect of poor attendance.

"Unless the president takes responsibility for the bloody

events and pledges to form a government of national salvation

and a balanced committee to amend the constitution, any dialogue

will be a waste of time," Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent

politician who founded the Constitution Party, wrote on Twitter.

Hamdeen Sabahy, a firebrand leftist politician and

presidential candidate who is another leading member of the

Front, said he would not attend Monday's meeting "unless the

bloodshed stops and the people's demands are met."

The response highlights Egypt's deeply polarised politics.

Although Islamists have swept to victory in a parliamentary poll

and presidential vote, the disparate opposition has been united

by Mursi's bid late last year to expand is powers and fast-track

a constitution with an Islamist hue through a referendum.

Mursi's opponents accuse him of listening only to his

Islamist friends and reneging on a pledge to be a president for

all Egyptians. Islamists say their rivals want to overthrow by

undemocratic means Egypt's first freely elected leader.

The Front has distanced itself from the latest flare-ups but

said Mursi should have acted far sooner to impose extra security

measures that would have ended the violence and laid the blame

for the escalation squarely on Mursi's shoulders.

"Of course we feel the president is missing the real problem

on the ground, which is his own polices," spokesman Khaled

Dawoud said. "His call to implement emergency law was an

expected move given what is going on, namely thuggery and

criminal actions."


Even in Tahrir Square, some protesters said the violence and

the death toll in Port Said and other cities along the strategic

international waterway meant there was little choice but to

impose emergency law, though they, too, said the violence was

Mursi's fault.

"They needed the state of emergency there because there is

so much anger," said Mohamed Ahmed, 27, a protester walking

briskly from a cloud of teargas spreading into Tahrir Square.

But activists in the three cities affected have pledged to

defy the curfew that will start at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) each

evening and will last until 6 a.m. (0400 GMT).

Some opposition groups have also called for more protests on

Monday, which marks the second anniversary of one of the

bloodiest days in the revolution that erupted on Jan. 25, 2011,

and brought an end to Mubarak's iron rule 18 days later.

Rights activists also said Mursi's declaration was a

backward step for Egypt, which was under emergency law for

Mubarak's entire 30-year rule. His police used the sweeping

arrest provisions to muzzle dissent and round up opponents,

including members of the Brotherhood and even Mursi himself.

Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch in Cairo said the police,

still hated by many Egyptians for their heavy-handed tactics

under Mubarak, would once again have the right to arrest people

"purely because they look suspicious", undermining efforts to

create a more efficient and respected police force.

"It is a classic knee-jerk reaction to think the emergency

law will help bring security," she said. "It gives so much

discretion to the Ministry of Interior that it ends up causing

more abuse, which in turn causes more anger."

(Additional reporting by Shaimaa Fayed in Cairo and Yusri

Mohamed in Ismailia; Editing by Will Waterman)

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