Cairo, Jan 25 (ANI): Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi has announced the lifting of a 30-year-old state of emergency a day before the first anniversary of the uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.
"I have taken a decision to end emergency law," Field Marshal Tantawi said in a nationally televised address. He said the draconian laws will remain applicable to "thuggery," a catchall term used to target activists and antigovernment demonstrators.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Field Marshal Tantawi's timing suggested he was seeking to ease criticism of the army's grip on power and to defuse a potential unrest during Wednesday's rallies in Tahrir Square to mark the revolution.
His remarks also came a day after the inauguration of a freely elected parliament, many of whose Islamist members had been arrested under emergency laws during Mubarak's rule.
"Egyptians and the armed forces had a clear aim, which is Egypt becoming a democratic country. We've never deviated from the aims of the revolution," Field Marshal Tantawi said.
According to the report, many activists believed that the speech was a ruse by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, to divert attention away from the broken promises of the revolution and the military tribunals that since February have tried over 12,000 civilians.
"Those taking to the streets are doing so because of a number of reasons that don't include emergency laws," the paper quoted Khaled Abdul Hamid, an activist and member of the Liars campaign that documents army abuses, as saying.
"People will be going out because we can't feel real change since the revolution and because SCAF wants to restore the old regime without the face of Mubarak," Hamid added. (ANI)
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