State media in Egypt reported Sunday that interim President Adly Mansour has transferred emergency powers to Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi, raising fears among many that a state of emergency could be near.

From CNN:

Egypt’s interim president has allowed for the prime minister to assume presidential powers in the case of a state of emergency — stoking fears of a violent crackdown on supporters of the recently ousted president.

It’s the latest power move in a country beset by deadly protests after President Mohamed Morsy was overthrown in a coup on July 3. Interim President Adly Mansour made the decision on the presidential powers Sunday, the state-run EGYnews website reported.

In Egypt, “state of emergency” is a loaded term. For almost 30 years, Egyptians were under a state of emergency during the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The decree barred unauthorized assembly, restricted freedom of speech and allowed police to jail people indefinitely.

But a presidential aide tried to quell such concerns, according to Gulf News.

“There is a misunderstanding about this authorisation,” Ali Saleh, a constitutional advisor to the president said, according to state television. “Some people think that this authorisation means the imminent imposition of the state of emergency, which is not true. These powers are pertaining to administrative measures, taken to preserve the state security.”

The situation has grown even more tense in Egypt in recent days, as clashes between rival protest groups turned deadly over the weekend.  Security forces were said to have shot at pro-Morsi demonstrators, killing dozens.

Supporters of Morsi have continued to stage a sit-in in east Cairo, vowing to stay until the recently ousted president is released and takes office again. Morsi is being held over allegations of plotting with Hamas, including in attacks on jails in the 2011 uprising.

More protests are expected, as pro-Morsi groups have called for a march on security buildings on Monday and a million-man march on Tuesday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton visited Cairo on Monday, where she encouraged officials to end the standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood, and urged “a fully inclusive transition… including the Muslim Brotherhood”.