Feds urge 'high degree of caution' for Canadians in Egypt
Published Sunday, January 27, 2013 2:30PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 27, 2013 10:56PM EST
Ottawa is advising Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution” in Egypt as deadly protests rock three Suez Canal provinces.
The federal government said Sunday that the embassy in Cairo would remain closed for the day but stopped short of issuing a nationwide travel advisory for Egypt. The Foreign Affairs Department advised Canadians to exercise caution “due to the unpredictable security situation and continued demonstrations throughout the country.”
The department specifically warned against “all travel” to Port Said, Suez and Ismailia “due to violent demonstrations and civil unrest that have led to casualties.”
The department also advised “against all travel to the Sinai Peninsula,” with the exception of the coastal resort area that includes Sharm El Sheikh.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday declared a 30-day state of emergency, which included a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, which have been rocked by protests that have killed more than 50 people since Friday. The state of emergency will remain in effect until Feb. 27.
The violence was at its worst this weekend in Port Said, where clashes between police and protesters have so far killed 44 people. The riots there were sparked by the conviction of 21 people in connection with a soccer riot in that city last February that killed 74 people. The defendants were sentenced to death.
Protests elsewhere that marked the second anniversary of the uprising that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak have killed another 11 people since Friday. Protesters have marked the anniversary with demonstrations against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over fears the president is attempting to scale back reforms brought about by the anti-Mubarak demonstrations that kicked off the so-called Arab Spring in the country.
Morsi gave no indication as to whether he plans to extend the state of emergency to other areas rocked by violence. However, he has ordered police to deal “firmly and forcefully” with anyone attacking government buildings or blocking roads or railways.
Morsi also said Sunday he has invited various political groups and luminaries to meet with him on Monday to help find a resolution to the latest unrest.
With files from The Associated Press