Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has announced a 30-day state of emergency and declared a night-time curfew in key cities Port Said, Suez and Ismailia after more than 50 people died and hundreds were injured in violent clashes over the weekend.
In Port Said, demonstrators took to the streets to protest after a court recommended the death sentence for 21 people convicted of involvement in last year’s football match riots in which 74 people died.
Some protesters stormed the Port Said tourism gate and threatened to disrupt the world’s busiest waterway.
A group member said: “This is a message that we can break into the port and disable the Suez Canal.”
Egypt receives significant revenue from the Suez Canal. In 2012 the waterway handled 17,225 transits, including 6,332 containerships.
The canal operates two southbound convoys and one northbound daily.