* Death toll in five days of violence now at 52
* Curfew imposed on Port Said, Ismailia and Suez
* President Mursi calls for dialogue
* Sceptical opposition spurns invitation
CAIRO/ISMAILIA, Egypt, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Egyptian
protesters defied a nighttime curfew in restive towns along the
Suez Canal, attacking police stations and ignoring emergency
rule imposed by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to end days of
clashes that have killed at least 52 people.
At least two men died in overnight fighting in the canal
city of Port Said in the latest outbreak of violence unleashed
last week on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that
brought down autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Political opponents spurned a call by Mursi for talks on
Monday to try to end the violence.
Instead, huge crowds of protesters took to the streets in
Cairo, Alexandria and in the three Suez Canal cities - Port
Said, Ismailia and Suez - where Mursi imposed emergency rule and
a curfew on Sunday.
"Down, down with Mohamed Mursi! Down, down with the state of
emergency!" crowds shouted in Ismailia. In Cairo, flames lit up
the night sky as protesters set police vehicles ablaze.
In Port Said, men attacked police stations after dark. A
security source said some police and troops were injured. A
medical source said two men were killed and 12 injured in the
clashes, including 10 with gunshot wounds.
"The people want to bring down the regime," crowds chanted
in Alexandria. "Leave means go, and don't say no!"
The demonstrators accuse Mubarak's successor Mursi of
betraying the two-year-old revolution. Mursi and his supporters
accuse the protesters of seeking to overthrow Egypt's first ever
democratically elected leader through undemocratic means.
Since Mubarak was toppled, Islamists have won two
referendums, two parliamentary elections and a presidential
vote. But that legitimacy has been challenged by an opposition
that accuses Mursi of imposing a new form of authoritarianism,
and punctuated by repeated waves of unrest that have prevented a
return to stability in the most populous Arab state.
The army has already been deployed in Port Said and Suez and
the government agreed a measure to let soldiers arrest civilians
as part of the state of emergency.
The instability unnerves Western capitals, where officials
worry about the direction of powerful regional player that has a
peace deal with Israel. The United States condemned the
bloodshed and called on Egyptian leaders to make clear violence
is not acceptable. ID:nW1E8MD01C].
In Cairo on Monday, police fired volleys of teargas at
stone-throwing protesters near Tahrir Square, cauldron of the
anti-Mubarak uprising. Demonstrators stormed into the downtown
Semiramis Intercontinental hotel and burned two police vehicles.
A 46-year-old bystander was killed by a gunshot early on
Monday, a security source said. It was not clear who fired.
"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
The political unrest in the Suez Canal cities has been
exacerbated by street violence linked to death penalties imposed
on soccer supporters convicted of involvement in stadium rioting
in Port Said a year ago.
Mursi's invitation to opponents to hold a national dialogue
with Islamists on Monday was spurned by the main opposition
National Salvation Front coalition, which rejected the offer as
"cosmetic and not substantive".
The only liberal politician who attended, Ayman Nour, told
Egypt's al-Hayat channel after the meeting ended late on Monday
that attendees agreed to meet again in a week.
He said Mursi had promised to look at changes to the
constitution requested by the opposition but did not consider
the opposition's request for a government of national unity.
The president announced the emergency measures on television
on Sunday: "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.
His demeanour in the address infuriated his opponents, not
least when he wagged a finger at the camera.
Some activists said Mursi's measures to try to impose
control on the turbulent streets could backfire.
"Martial law, state of emergency and army arrests of
civilians are not a solution to the crisis," said Ahmed Maher of
the April 6 movement that helped galvanise the 2011 uprising.
"All this will do is further provoke the youth. The solution has
to be a political one that addresses the roots of the problem."
(Additional reporting by Edmund Blair and Yasmine Saleh in
Cairo and Abdelrahman Youssef in Alexandria; Writing by Edmund
Blair, Yasmine Saleh and Peter Graff)