Due to expire on 31 May, the emergency legislation has been in place since 1967, with the exception of a brief 18-month hiatus in 1980/81. The laws have given the government considerable leeway in its crackdown on Islamist militant groups such as the Gamaat al-Islamiya, which was involved in both the assassination of Sadat and the massacre of tourists in Luxor in 1997. In a statement to parliament Prime Minister Atef Obeid urged ‘the majority and opposition to approve the decision of the president to renew the emergency law,’ saying it would ‘not be used against the freedom of expression but to ensure the security of citizens’.