CAIRO: Throughout the Egyptian capital, shops were reopening yesterday, and many of the city’s 20 million residents were in the streets, going to work and about their business as normal.
The scenes were far from those of a week earlier, when the bustling metropolis lay almost silent in parts, in the wake of deadly violence between protesters and police.
The clashes began on August 14, when security forces moved into two tent cities of protesters calling for the reinstatement of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Mursi.
The operation sparked nationwide violence that left nearly 1,000 people dead in a week, and the country’s interim government had imposed a night-time curfew on 14 provinces.
But in recent days, amid a fierce crackdown by authorities, Islamists have been unable to muster large numbers at demonstrations.
As the unrest has abated, the authorities announced on Saturday that they would shorten the curfew by two hours, though the country remains under a state of emergency.
With the semblance of normality, however, the city’s habitual traffic jams have also returned.
Cairo’s infamous traffic had been made worse by police and army checkpoints on the roads, but those have gradually been replaced by traffic police posts.
Banks, which had been closed or opening their doors for just a few hours a day, are now open for business between 8am and 3pm on orders from the central bank.
A deputy bank director said that business had returned to normal, after a week in which customers almost dried out.
But in a city know for its noisy nightlife, the night curfew still casts an eerie silence over Cairo.