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Africa North
Egypt Opposition Snubs Morsi Dialogue as Turmoil Escalates
[An Nahar] Egypt's main opposition bloc on Monday rejected an invitation by President Mohamed Morsi for talks on the violence and political turmoil sweeping the country and instead called for fresh mass demonstrations.

With another person killed in a fifth straight day of clashes in Cairo and the unrest showing no signs of abating, the Islamist-dominated senate ratified a law that would grant the armed forces powers of arrest.

Morsi late on Sunday announced a crackdown on the violence which has swept Egypt since Friday in which nearly 50 people have died, declaring a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya, where rioters have attacked and torched police stations.

In a televised address he also slapped the three provinces with night-time curfews, while calling the opposition -- which accuses him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power -- to a national dialogue.

The National Salvation Front, which groups several mainly liberal and leftist movements, swiftly rejected the talks and called instead for countrywide protests on Friday.

"We will not participate in dialogue that is empty of content," leading dissident Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters after a meeting of the NSF.

The coalition said Morsi needed to agree to a list of demands it laid out last week, including the formation of a national salvation government and the amendment of the Islamist-drafted constitution, before it agrees to any talks.

"We will not join a dialogue with no agenda just to project an image of talks," ElBaradei said.
Posted by:Fred