Protesters defy night-time curfews in Egypt canal cities

CAIRO (AFP) - Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Egypt's three Suez Canal cities on Monday night in defiance of a night-time curfew imposed by President Mohamed Mursi after dozens were killed in clashes with police.

Witnesses said protesters took to the streets of Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez City as the 9pm (3am Singapore time) curfew went into effect to stage "breaking the curfew" demonstrations.

The protesters chanted slogans against Islamist rule in Egypt, "Fall, Fall the rule of the guide (of the Muslim Brotherhood), referring to Mr Mursi who hails from the Brotherhood.

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." In Ismailiya, witnesses said the protesters decided to hold football matches on the streets as part of their protests.

State television, meanwhile, reported that hundreds of people took to the streets of Suez City.

Mr Mursi on Sunday declared a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya after they were hit by deadly riots that left around 50 dead and hundreds wounded In a television address he also slapped night-time curfews on the provinces from 9pm to 6am.

On Monday, the Islamist-dominated Senate ratified a law that would grant the armed forces powers of arrest, the official MENA news agency reported.