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Egypt To Partially Lift Emergency Rule After Three Decades

Egypt's military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi
Egypt's military ruler has announced plans to lift the country's decades-old state of emergency.

Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi made the announcement on January 24 in a televised address marking the first anniversary of the January 25 revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

He said the measure would be implemented on January 25, but that the emergency legislation would still be applied to "thuggery."

Tantawi did not specify what he meant by this term although, according to the BBC, the military has previously used the expression "thugs" to justify crackdowns on protesters demanding a return to civilian rule.

Egyptians are planning several rallies for January 25 to mark the anniversary of the revolution and pay tribute to those killed in the suppression of the 2011 protests.

Egypt's emergency law, which gives security forces very broad powers, was introduced in 1981 by Mubarak.

The lifting of emergency law had been one of the main demands of anti-Mubarak protesters.

The United States praised the decision.

But U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington is seeking clarification about the exception for cases of "thuggery."

compiled from agency reports