The verdicts were seen by residents as unfairly targeting Port Said. They also tapped into a vein of resentment in a city of 600,000 that prides itself as a national symbol of resistance after being on the front lines of multiple wars with Israel since 1956.
Many are convinced Morsi and the Brotherhood are trying to sideline the city because of a tradition of defying authority. They were further outraged when Morsi went on TV Sunday night and declared the state of emergency and curfew in Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya. Wagging his finger and shouting, Morsi supported the actions of police in confronting the protesters and warned of stronger measures if calm is not restored.
Mourners on Tuesday spoke of police on rooftops and roving in armored vehicles firing wildly during the weekend mayhem around the police station and prison in the city's al-Arab district, hitting bystanders blocks away. On Sunday, a funeral of some of those killed came under fire — residents blame police — causing panic as mourners dropped some of the bodies they were carrying on the ground.
Ayman el-Sherbini said his 23-year-old brother Osama was walking in the al-Arab district on the way to buy food when a bullet hit him in the face, killing him. El-Sherbini, who wore the beard of a conservative Muslim, blamed Morsi and said his Islamist leadership had brought shame on religious people. "Now people spit in the face of anyone with a beard because of Morsi," he said.
Women in face veils screamed anti-Morsi slogans in the funeral march. One woman, Faten el-Tahan, a government worker in a conservative Muslim headscarf, said she wished her "hands were cut off" the day she voted for Morsi in last year's presidential election.