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Monday August 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 17, 2013 MYT 3:31:41 PM
Egyptian security forces escort supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, center, out of the al-Fatah mosque and through angry crowds, in the background, in Ramses Square, downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. Hundreds of Islamist protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque overnight on Friday, following a day of fierce street battles. A Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdel-Hafiz el-Maslami, still inside the mosque told The Associated Press that people are afraid to leave the mosque out of fear of detention or being assaulted by the crowd outside. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)
CAIRO: Egyptian authorities raided the homes of Muslim Brotherhood members in an apparent attempt to disrupt the group ahead of planned mass rallies by supporters of the country’s ousted president.
Under the banner of an anti-coup alliance, the Brotherhood said it will hold a demonstration in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in southern Cairo.
Authorities already stationed armoured vehicles and troops at the building, which could turn into another focal point of street violence.
More than 800 people have been killed nationwide since Wednesday’s dismantling of two encampments of President Mohamed Morsi supporters in Cairo – an act that sparked fierce clashes.
In an attempt to cripple the Brotherhood’s protest plans, authorities carried out sweeping raids early yesterday morning, detaining mid-level officials and field operatives in several cities, according to security officials and group statements.
In Assiut, 320km south of Cairo, 163 of the group’s officials and operatives were rounded up in different towns in the province, security officials said.
They said those arrested face charges of instigating violence and orchestrating attacks on police stations and churches.
In the city of Suez, nine people were arrested after being caught on film attacking army vehicles, burning churches and assaulting Christian-owned stores, officials said.
In ancient southern city of Luxor, more than 20 Brotherhood senior officials were detained, officials said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly to journalists.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has begun deliberations on whether to ban the Brotherhood, a long-outlawed organisation that swept to power in the country’s first democratic elections a year ago.
Such a ban – which authorities say would be implemented over the group’s use of violence – would be a repeat of the decades-long power struggle between the state and the Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood faces increasing public criticism over the ongoing violence in Egypt.
Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, the powerful head of Al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam’s main seat of learning, issued an audio statement asking Brotherhood members to stop the violence.
“The scenes of violence will not grant you any rights,” el-Tayeb said.
El-Tayeb supported the military ousting of Morsi after millions took to the streets demanding the president to step down. — AP
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