After 31 years, the state of emergency has been lifted in Egypt. It had come into operation after President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981. Activists who led the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak last year made lifting the state of emergency a key demand. The law gave the country’s security forces wide-ranging powers to detain suspects and try them in special courts rather than through normal judicial channels. The law expired at midnight on the 31st of May 2012 and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) confirmed that they would not renew the law but would “continue to carry its national responsibility in protecting the country until the transfer of power is over”. The run-off vote in the presidential elections will be held on 16-17 June with the two contenders being the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and President Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.