CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s government announced the end of a 3-month-old state of emergency Tuesday, two days earlier than planned, after a court ruled that the measure has expired.
Ending the state of emergency would mean the end of a nighttime curfew also in place since mid-August, measures aimed at helping authorities impose control amid protests by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Security officials have shown concern that its end could add fuel to the protests.
Morsi, who has been in detention since his July 3 ouster by the military, had his first extensive meeting with lawyers on Tuesday, consulting in prison with a team from his Muslim Brotherhood and allies on his ongoing trial on charges of inciting murder, which began last week. Morsi is so far refusing to allow the team to represent him, saying he remains the elected president and refuses to recognize the tribunal against him following what he and his supporters call an illegal coup.
During the meeting, Morsi gave the lawyers a “statement to the nation and the Egyptian people,” said Morsi’s son, Osama, a lawyer who was among those who met him, according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s website. He said the statement was addressed to “the various movements, factions and sects” of the Egyptian people.
The lawyers planned a press conference for Wednesday, when it appeared the statement would be released.
The court ruling on ending the state of emergency appeared to have caught the government off guard. Only a day earlier, Interior Minister Mahmoud Ibrahim had said it would be lifted on Thursday, announcing that security reinforcements would deploy in the streets at that time — a sign of the worries over intensified protests.