CAIRO, Egyptian police on Thursday arrested a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader over his calls for mass protests against state institutions, official news agency MENA reported.
Mohamed Ali Bishr, who served as the minister of local development under ousted President Mohamed Morsi, was accused of inciting violence and organizing protests scheduled for Nov.28 without prior official permission based on the protest law.
Since the Egyptian military removed Morsi in July last year following mass protests against his rule, security forces have launched a massive security crackdown on his supporters, leaving nearly 1,000 killed and thousands detained.
The authorities have blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hailed, as a terrorist group last February. Its members were also banned by a court ruling in April from running in presidential and parliamentary elections.
Besides Bishr, who mediated efforts for reconciliation between the authorities and the Brotherhood after Morsi’s removal, Morsi himself, Brotherhood guide Mohamed Badei, and the group’s other top leaders are also on trials over violence, murder and spying accusations.
On its website, the banned Freedom and Justice Party condemned the arrest of Bishr in a statement, saying “it’s an attempt to abort the revolutionary efforts,” adding that Bishr has been under home arrest since 16 months ago.
Bishr was the only member of the Brotherhood Guidance Bureau, the highest authority in the group, who stayed in Egypt without arrest.
The Egyptian authorities have always blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for waves of bombs and attacks that hit the country after Morsi’s ouster, which the group has denied in all occasions.
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