PORT SAID, Egypt -- Egypt descended into chaos yesterday as fresh clashes between protesters and security forces rocked cities around the country. Few people honored a 9 p.m. curfew that had been ordered in three provinces as demonstrators took to the streets to curse the first democratically elected president.
The military forces that President Mohammed Morsi had ordered into the streets Sunday to restore calm did little to confront the mayhem, though it was unclear whether the troops were defying orders or simply incapable of confronting the crowds. Protesters climbed onto tanks in some cities, while in Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, witnesses said soldiers fled when shots rang out near a police station around 10 p.m.
At least one civilian was fatally shot near the police station, and another 11 were wounded, state television reported. At least 60 people have died in protests since Saturday.
The bedlam seemed eerily similar to that of two years ago, when then-President Hosni Mubarak was unable to end protests that led to his resignation 18 days after they began.
On Sunday, Morsi, who took office just seven months ago, promising reforms, had issued a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in a fiery speech in which he scolded Egyptians for the protests. But festive defiance greeted the arrival of the curfew last night, as women and men danced and sang.
Perhaps the most common chant of the day was "Leave!" On news channels, screens were split to show the places around the country that were engulfed in protests and clashes with security forces: Port Said, Suez, Cairo and Alexandria.
In Cairo's Tahrir Square, where the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising began, a stolen police armored personnel carrier sat charred and abandoned. Around the capital, protesters attempted to storm government buildings. In cities that weren't under curfew, residents held 9 p.m. protests in solidarity.