Egypt protests: death toll rises as Army warns of "collapse of the state" following protests in Tahrir, Port Said.

Egyptian Army Warns of "Collapse" as Deadly Riots Continue

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Jan. 29 2013 3:29 PM

Egyptian Army Warns of "Collapse" as Deadly Riots Continue

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An Egyptian protester forwards back a tear gas canister fired by riot police near Cairo's Tahrir Square on Jan. 29, 2013

Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Today, a Morsi-appointed army chief in Egypt warned that political unrest may once again bring the country to the verge of collapse, just about two years after the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime began.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took to Facebook to comment on current turmoil in the country, saying: "The continuation of the struggle of the different political forces ... over the management of state affairs could lead to the collapse of the state." The general is also the country's defense minister. As Reuters explains, it's unlikely that Sisi was insinuating that the army would make a power grab, though his comments come just after President Morsi ordered the military to deploy to three Egyptian cities near the Suez Canal currently under a state of emergency.

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In case you haven't been following the latest developments in Egypt, five days of riots in the country have left 52 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to the Guardian. There have also been reports of at least 19 sexual assaults of women during the Friday night riots, as noted by the Egypt Independent in a rather graphically-detailed post.

The current unrest in the country actually stems from two separate events: Jan. 25 anniversary demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria that turned into protests against President Morsi, and riots in Port Said following the death sentence of 21 fans involved in last February's soccer riots that left over 70 people dead.

For more on the unrest: The BBC has a good Q-and-A on the basics of turmoil, while the Arabist looks at the presence of internationally inspired Black Bloc anarchists at the protests—while it's unclear what exactly their role in the chaos is, Egyptian prosecutors have ordered their arrest, claiming they can prove the group is up to "terrorist activities."

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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