Egyptian official indicates curfew to end
CAIRO — Egypt's interior minister indicated that a curfew and state of emergency in place for the past three months will expire on Thursday as scheduled, saying security reinforcements will be deployed as a preventive measure in the face of protests by the supporters of the ousted president.
The curfew and emergency laws have been a key tool in authorities' crackdown on the mainly Islamist supporters of Mohamed Morsy, who was toppled by the military July 3.
His backers have been holding small rallies nearly every day demanding his reinstatement, but they have generally dispersed at curfew time.
The state of emergency gave security forces expanded powers of arrest.
Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of police, told the state news agency on Monday that “once the curfew and state of emergency end on Nov. 14,” security forces will be deployed to main streets and city centers across the country “to tighten control and instill a feeling of confidence and security in citizens.”
Egypt imposed the curfew when security forces violently dispersed two pro-Morsy protest camps in Cairo. Hundreds of people were killed and the days of unrest that followed left more than 1,000 dead.
Over the past months, Egypt has been hit by a spiral of violence. Suspected Islamist supporters of Morsy have torched dozens of churches and police stations in retaliation. Ibrahim himself survived an assassination attempt by a suicide car bomber.
After one month, the state of emergency was extended for two months. But to extend it beyond that point, a public referendum is required, according to the country's transitional constitution.
The curfew has run from 1 to 5 a.m. six days a week. It began at 7 p.m. Fridays, a day when Morsy supporters traditionally attempt larger protests.
In an attempt to empower security forces, the military-backed interim government is working on a controversial law that would restrict the right to protest by forcing organizers to seek a permit to hold any gathering — something authorities can deny if they see it threatening public order.