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Fatalities Reported At Mass Funeral For Riot Dead In Egypt

Relatives of the Egyptian policemen who were killed in Port Said grieve during their military funeral in Cairo on Sunday.
Amr Nabil
Relatives of the Egyptian policemen who were killed in Port Said grieve during their military funeral in Cairo on Sunday.

Update at 6:10 p.m. ET Morsi Declares State Of Emergency

In a televised address Sunday night, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi declared a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew in three provinces hit hard by recent violence.

NPR's Leila Fadel says it means that during this time the government can arrest anyone they want if they look "fishy," and they can use the full force of the state to try and quell the city.

"Some human rights groups are saying that it's a little concerning that they're employing what they call 'Mubarak-era tactics' to try and calm the protests," Fadel says.

The three provinces under the state of emergency are Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez.

Update at 1:29 p.m. ET Protests Turn Deadly

At least three people are now dead and more than 400 hurt in the mass funerals of those killed in Saturday's violence in Port Said.

Al Jazeera is reporting on the story from Port Said. Here's what the news organization says:

"Medics said on Sunday that an 18-year-old man and two other people died of gunshots, while 17 others had sustained gunshot wounds after violence erupted at a march of thousands of mourners in the Egyptian city for 31 people killed on Saturday in the canal city."

The protests are ongoing.

Saturday's protests were in reaction to death sentences handed to 21 people involved in a deadly soccer riot in the city last year. Those riots, which killed 74 people, erupted after the home team scored a rare win against a rival team from Cairo.

As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported last year: "Many witnesses say rabid Port Said fans charged their Cairo counterparts. Other witnesses blamed unidentified thugs wielding sticks, knives and rocks who hid among the Port Said fans. By most accounts, police and security forces did not intervene."

And here's more from Al Jazeera about the riot and the heightened tensions over the verdict:

"Many Egyptians believe the deadly stadium violence was orchestrated either by police or by Mubarak supporters, and any verdict was likely to trigger a highly charged response.

"Cairo football fans had threatened widespread chaos if justice was not served, and Port Said residents said the ruling was politically motivated."

Our original post:

Thousands turned out Sunday in the Egyptian city of Port Said for a mass funeral for 35 people killed Saturday in anti-government rioting.

As NPR's Dana Farrington wrote on the blog Saturday, the violence broke after an Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death for their role in a deadly soccer riot last year.

NPR's Leila Fadal reported on the events for our Newscast unit. Here's what she says:

"The streets of the northeastern city of Port Said erupted with wails and calls for the toppling of Egypt's Islamist-led government. Men carried coffins of the dead killed on Saturday during rioting that was sparked by the death sentence of 21 soccer fans convicted for participating in sport-related violence.

"Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi has yet to address the nation since anti-government protests began on Friday and were compounded by the violence in Port Said. More than 30 people were killed in the city yesterday and at least nine people in protests the day before.

"Egypt's opposition called for more anti-government demonstrations and demanded early presidential elections. They called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections and amendments to Egypt's new constitution."

The Associated Press reported that violence broke out briefly during Sunday's funeral when "some in the crowd fired guns and police responded with volleys of tear gas." More than 100 people were injured.

There was also a funeral in Cairo, the capital, for two policemen who were killed in the Port Said violence.

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Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.