(CAIRO) -- After 31 years, Egypt has finally ended its notorious state of emergency.
The set of sweeping powers that had given security forces a free hand to detain and even torture Egyptian citizens was put to rest on Thursday.
It's a historic shift for Egypt, shaking off the residue of Hosni Mubarak's regime and its legacy of brutal crackdowns on dissent.
The end of emergency rule also points to the changing role of Egypt's military, which has been practically in complete control of the country since the revolution last year. A council of military leaders, longtime loyalists of Mubarak, has resisted giving up its powers.
But with Egypt set to pick its first freely elected president, civilian democracy is taking over from military autocracy.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio