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Egypt shortens curfew as unrest over coup wanes

  • An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • An Egyptian man stands in front of his tent in Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    An Egyptian man stands in front of his tent in Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • Sculptures representing ousted Egypt's islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters as goats are seen at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    Sculptures representing ousted Egypt's islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters as goats are seen at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans against the Egyptian Army during a march near Al Nour mosque in Abassia district in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. Hundreds of supporters of Mohammed Morsi took to the streets Friday, holding scattered rallies across the city in a test of whether the ousted Egyptian president's allies can keep up the pressure on the government despite the arrest of much of their senior leadership. During Friday's rallies, protesters raised yellow stickers showing an open palm with four raised fingers, which has become a symbol of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters had held a sit-in for weeks that was violently dispersed on Aug. 14, resulting in the deaths of hundreds.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans against the Egyptian Army during a march near Al Nour mosque in Abassia district in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. Hundreds of supporters of Mohammed Morsi took to the streets Friday, holding scattered rallies across the city in a test of whether the ousted Egyptian president's allies can keep up the pressure on the government despite the arrest of much of their senior leadership. During Friday's rallies, protesters raised yellow stickers showing an open palm with four raised fingers, which has become a symbol of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters had held a sit-in for weeks that was violently dispersed on Aug. 14, resulting in the deaths of hundreds.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

  • An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • An Egyptian man stands in front of his tent in Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • An Egyptian man builds his tent at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • Sculptures representing ousted Egypt's islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters as goats are seen at Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • An Egyptian man walks through Tahrir Square where a few protesters have built their camp protesting against the release of former Egypt's Dictator Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans against the Egyptian Army during a march near Al Nour mosque in Abassia district in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. Hundreds of supporters of Mohammed Morsi took to the streets Friday, holding scattered rallies across the city in a test of whether the ousted Egyptian president's allies can keep up the pressure on the government despite the arrest of much of their senior leadership. During Friday's rallies, protesters raised yellow stickers showing an open palm with four raised fingers, which has become a symbol of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters had held a sit-in for weeks that was violently dispersed on Aug. 14, resulting in the deaths of hundreds.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

Egypt’s government yesterday shortened a widely-imposed evening curfew, signaling that authorities sense turmoil is waning after unrest following the president’s ouster threatened to destabilize the country this month.

The Cabinet’s decision to cut the curfew by two hours came as Egypt’s interim prime minister vowed that his government’s priority is restoring security.

Egypt experienced one of the deadliest bouts of violence in recent days since its Arab Spring began in 2011. Nationwide clashes and attacks killed more than 1,000 people after the security forces cleared two Cairo sit-ins belonging to supporters of toppled president Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown in a popularly supported July 3 military coup.

Since the unrest spiked, much of Egypt has been under a military-imposed nighttime curfew. Responding to citizens’ demands, the government said in a statement yesterday that the 11-hour-long curfew would be in place daily for just nine hours. However, the full curfew would remain in place for Fridays, the first day of the weekend in Egypt and when recent protests were incredibly fierce.

The easing of the curfew was announced a day after calls for protests by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group largely fizzled out.

The announcement yesterday came as many were rushing to try to make it home before the curfew hours began. The curfew especially has choked Cairo’s bustling night life and the revenue of many businesses, hotels and restaurants.

In recent days, Cairo, a metropolis of some 18 million people, began to regain a sense of normalcy. The capital, however, remains under a state of emergency that gives security forces broad powers to arrest.

Security forces have used those powers to go after the Brotherhood’s top and midlevel figures, including the group’s supreme leader Mohammed Badie. Most are being accused of inciting violence. Authorities have alleged that Morsi supporters are committing acts of terrorism and point to a string of attacks against churches and government buildings.

Morsi supporters deny their protests are violent, accusing authorities of smearing their movement and trying to cripple the once-powerful party.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi told reporters he will not accept people feeling unsafe.

“We are sorry for the number of injured . . . and we are all extremely sad for each drop of blood,” el-Beblawi said. “But if the price is that people don’t feel secure . . . we won’t accept that.”

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