Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mass detention of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Egyptian police detained at least 350 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, the group and security officials said on Sunday to Reuters.  This was the largest such round-up for months. The detentions took place on Saturday after a large protest in central Cairo organised by the Islamist group against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

One security source estimated 620 of the group's members had been detained on Saturday and Sunday, and said they were being held on suspicion of inciting demonstrations and membership of an illegal organisation. The Brotherhood is Egypt's strongest opposition group and has historical and ideological ties with Hamas Islamists in Gaza. It said Saturday's detentions brought the total number of its members held to above 1,050.

The detained men were from several provinces, and had come to Cairo for the demonstrations on Saturday where Egyptian police used batons to beat protesters.

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