Egypt relaxes night curfew by 2 hours as unrest fades

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's army-backed government shortened a nightime curfew by two hours on Saturday, 10 days after imposing it during a fierce crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo. Effective immediately, the curfew will last from 9pm to 6am, except on Fridays, when it will still start at 7pm, the Cabinet said in a statement.

It said the decision had been taken "to lighten the burden on citizens and in response to popular demand".

Protests are commonly held on Fridays, the first day of the Egyptian weekend, following noon Muslim prayers.

The authorities imposed the curfew on Aug 14 when the police destroyed Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo set up to demand the reinstatement of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

They said the curfew would stay in place for at least a month.

Pro-Mursi protests on a "Friday of Martyrs" called by the Brotherhood and its allies did not draw huge crowds into the streets and there was relatively little violence, although one man was reported killed in the Nile Delta town of Tanta.

According to government figures, more than 1,000 people have been killed across Egypt, including about 100 soldiers and police, since the army deposed Mr Mursi on July 3. The Brotherhood says the death toll is much higher.