Egypt's decades-old state of emergency came to an end on Thursday as its last renewal expired, the ruling military said, vowing to continue to “protect” the nation.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency continuously since President Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981, allowing authorities to detain people without charge and try them in emergency security courts.

Parliament renewed the emergency law for two years in May 2010 when now ousted President Hosni Mubarak was still in power, but limited its application to terrorism and drug crimes.

The military, which took charge after Mr. Mubarak's overthrow in February 2011, at first extended the law to include strikes but then said it would apply only to “thuggery”.

Key demand

Ending the state of emergency was a key demand of protesters who toppled Mr. Mubarak in an 18-day popular uprising in January and February last year.

Thousands of Egyptians had been jailed under the law over the previous decades. Many have been released since the military took power.

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