Egypt lifts state of emergency and curfew


Egyptian armed forces search vehicles at a checkpoint during curfew in Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt (19 August 2013) The state of emergency allowed the authorities to make arrests without warrants

Egypt’s state of emergency and curfew have been lifted, the government has announced.

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The move came two days earlier than expected, after a court ruling.

The state of emergency and the night-time curfew were introduced on 14 August after security forces forcibly ended sit-ins in support of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The measures had been due to last a month, but the government extended them for two more months on 12 September.

New protest law

The state of emergency and the curfew were lifted with effect from 16:00 local time (14:00 GMT), an adviser to Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi confirmed to the BBC.

This followed the ruling by the administrative court that said the decree extending the measures should only be effective for two calendar months.

The army-backed government said it would abide by the verdict.

The state of emergency and the 01:00-05:00 curfew had allowed the authorities to make arrests without warrants and search people’s homes.

Many people had also blamed the curfew for a fall in business in Cairo – at a time when the government was trying to create jobs and revive the economy.

The measures were introduced after hundreds of people died following the clearing of the pro-Morsi camps in the capital.

Mr Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, was ousted by the army in July following widespread demonstrations against his rule.

He is currently on trial for allegedly inciting the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012.

Egyptians lived under a state of emergency – which gives extra powers to the security services – for more than three decades, until President Hosni Mubarak was forced from power amid mass protests in 2011.

Even with Thursday’s moves, Egypt’s military-backed government will still be keeping a tight grip, the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Cairo reports.

The authorities say security forces will be deployed on main streets and in city centres across the country to tighten control, our correspondent says.

And she adds that stringent new limits on freedom of movement are expected to be introduced soon, in a law regulating public protest.

Human rights campaigners say the proposals will give police the power to ban protests outright.

A draft legislation – currently being considered by Interim President Adly Mahmud Mansour – requires protest organisers to notify police in advance of any meeting of more than 10 people, in public or in private.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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