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In anticipation of the protests, the Egyptian government Wednesday reinstated an emergency law that expired May 31 and had been in place since Islamists assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

“I am sure that this is all in preparation for what [the government is] girding for, some pretty big demonstrations,” said Ms. Coleman. “People recognize that these counterrevolutionary forces are not moving over.”

Mrs. Clinton expressed concern about the reinstitution of the law, which gives the military the power to arrest civilians, including human rights activists, and detain them for indefinite periods of time. They also can be tried in military courts.

“Even if they are temporary, they appear to expand the power of the military to detain civilians and roll back their civil liberties,” she said of the extension of the emergency law.