Egypt Extends State Of Emergency To Three Years

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 11, 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks on during a press conference with his Russian counterpart (unseen) following their talks at the presidential palace in the capital Cairo. With his trademark black sunglasses and blanket media presence, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi projects an air of benign paternalism. Whether the people love or loathe Sisi, see him as a bulwark of stability or as a domineering autocrat -- there is little doubt that he will remain Egypt's president for years to come. / AFP PHOTO / Khaled DESOUKI

SAN FRANCISCO, January 21, (THEWILL) – Egypt’s state of emergency is set to reach the three-year mark by April after the government announced it would extend it by another three months from Monday next week.

The North African country has been under a state of emergency since April 2017 bombings of two Coptic churches by an Islamic State group affiliate that killed more than 40 people.

The extension comes nine years after the January 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, who had also ruled for decades under a state of emergency.

“The president of Egypt ordered the extension of the state of emergency nationwide for three months starting Monday, January 27,” said the official gazette on Sunday.

Under a state of emergency, police powers such as arresting and holding citizens are extended and constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and assembly are curtailed.

AFP reports that Egypt has for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which surged following the 2013 military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The attacks have been largely concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but occasionally struck elsewhere in the country.

In February 2018, Egypt launched a large-scale nationwide anti-militant operation.

Rights groups say the state of emergency coupled with the government’s effective protest ban since 2013 has helped it in crushing dissent.

In September, rare minor protests broke out in Egypt triggered by online calls for Sisi’s removal.

Some 4,000 people were arrested in the following weeks, according to local rights groups.

Activists have called it one of the worst waves of a crackdown against any dissent that was launched when Sisi officially took power in 2014.

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