[JURIST] Egypt's interim government, the Cabinet of Ministers [official website] decided at Thursday's meeting [meeting notes, in Arabic] to begin measures to end Egypt's state of emergency [JURIST news archives] that has been in effect for nearly 30 years. The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [NYT backgrounder] announced in March that it would lift the state of emergency, but until now, nothing else had been discussed on the matter. Due to what many perceive as the government's inactivity, if not abuse of power, protests have continued. The government commented on this in a separate statement [text, in Arabic]:
The Council of Ministers, since recording its appreciation [of the revolution's martyrs], have achieved on the ground security, stability and the return of discipline to the Egyptian streets after the success of the Council of Ministers to persuade the powers of different national protest groups to end the sit-in Tahrir Square, which lasted for long days since the 8th of July, but emphasized the importance of upholding national unity and rallying together to achieve the economic and democratic development to achieve the goals of the glorious revolution. The Council of Ministers see that the time has come to leave all Egyptians to work freely in order to compensate for the lost country of production and rise to the aspirations of the people in the levels of quality of life.The government also alleged that they have not utilized any of the powers [Reuters report] granted by the state of emergency.
Protests continue in Egypt as many believe the interim government is not progressing toward change quickly enough. In April, an Egyptian military court convicted blogger Maikel Nabil [JURIST report] and sentenced him to three years in prison for criticizing the army and raising questions over reform in the wake of revolution. He posted an article on his blog [text, in Arabic] on March 7 saying the army had beaten, tortured and killed protesters, including some who were cooperating with security forces. He was then sentenced without a formal hearing and without his lawyers present. In March, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces unveiled an interim constitution that allows the council to retain control over the country until an elected government is installed. The document vests the military council with presidential powers [Al-Ahram report], including the abilities to introduce legislation, veto existing laws and act as Egypt's representative to the international community.