PORT SAID, Egypt Egypt descended into chaos Monday as fresh clashes between protesters and security forces rocked cities around the country, with few people honoring a 9 p.m. curfew that had been ordered in three provinces as demonstrators took to the streets to curse Egypt's first democratically elected president.
The military 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.
On Sunday, Morsi, who took office just seven months ago promising reforms, had issued a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in the Suez Canal cities of Suez, Ismailiya and Port Said and their surrounding provinces. In his fiery speech declaring the crackdown, he scolded Egyptians for the protests.
But festive defiance greeted the arrival of the curfew Monday night, as women and men danced and sang.
"Oh, it's 9 o'clock!" they yelled as the appointed hour arrived. Then they shouted, "The curfew's gone, son of a whore," referring to Morsi.
Perhaps the most common chant of the day was "Leave!"
There was violence, as well.
In Cairo, protesters battled police for hours Monday, with the Associated Press reporting that one protester died of gunshot wounds as youths hurling stones battled with police firing tear gas near Qasr el-Nil Bridge, a landmark over the Nile next to major hotels.
In Suez and Ismailiya, thousands flooded the streets after curfew, chanting against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization through which Morsi rose to prominence.
In Port Said, the AP reported, thousands turned out for the funerals of some of the 32 people killed the day before when riots exploded after a court convicted and sentenced to death 21 people mostly locals for a soccer riot in the city's main stadium a year ago. The official MENA news agency said three more people died Monday.
The bedlam was eerily similar to that of two years ago, when President Hosni Mubarak was unable to end protests that led to his resignation 18 days after they began.
In Cairo's iconic 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.
Morsi called Prime Minister Hesham Kandil on Monday night to discuss the protests, though the outcome of that conversation wasn't made public.
Monday's clashes continued the disturbing trend of violent protest that began two months ago. No one could say where the demonstrations might lead. While some protesters said they wanted Morsi to step down, none knew who should replace him.
The main opposition grouping, the National Salvation Front, which is fractured among many smaller parties, said Monday that it wouldn't hold national reconciliation talks with Morsi, a position, some protesters said, that made the opposition seem as tone deaf as the president.
Protesters also rejected a military takeover, noting that the generals had assumed power after Mubarak stepped down and had failed in 18 months of rule to bring about reform.
"Egypt needs real change, and people don't believe anything is changing," said Mohammed Noor, 26, of Port Said. "Don't tell me people are going to the street because they have a hard life. They are taking revenge for the killings. It is like waves of vengeance. It will continue until one side gets tired or this turns into a real revolution with real leaders."
Some at Port Said called for the province to secede from Egypt, pointing out that it holds the country's largest port and second-largest oil reserve.
In Cairo, others proposed another election.
""The first elections were not right," said Emad Mehrez, 51, a hotel manager. "We want a new constitution. We want the men with beards to go," a reference to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.