Egyptian curfew lifted ahead of expiration Thursday
An Egyptian court ordered Tuesday that three-month-long state of emergency accompanied by a curfew be lifted, two days before it was due to expire on Nov. 14.
The government said in a statement that it would respect the ruling but would wait for official notification from the court before implementing it.
Egypt’s army-backed authorities announced the nightly curfew on Aug. 14, when security forces forcibly ended the two main sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammad Morsi in Cairo, prompting waves of violence in which hundreds of people have been killed.
The state of the emergency allowed the authorities to make arrests without warrants and gave security officials the right to search people’s homes.
The government’s decision, the security source said, came after a court ruling that the state of emergency, that includes the curfew from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., expired on Tuesday.
The cabinet said in a statement it was “committed to execute the court ruling and is waiting to receive a copy of the ruling to execute it.”
Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters have been staging almost daily protests against the army since they deposed him in July.
Egyptian authorities have arrested thousands of Islamist activists and Morsi supporters in the past three months.
Many blamed the curfew, which initially started at 7 p.m. but has been reduced over the weeks, on dampening trade in central Cairo at a time when the government is desperately trying to create jobs and boost an economy that has been badly hit by the turmoil.
The state of emergency and curfew had been due to last a month from Aug. 14, but the government extended it for two more months on Sept. 12.
“The court argued that since the extension announcement was on Sept. 12 then the expiry date should be Tuesday not Thursday Nov. 14,” a judiciary source said.