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Egypt police arrest 110 Muslim Brotherhood members
 Egyptian police arrested 110 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, and beat and teargassed others as they protested outside a courthouse in which a prominent Brotherhood member was on trial, sources said. The group’s Web site and an eyewitness said thousands of police had surrounded the demonstrators in the large Nile Delta town of Zasgazig and had disper
Wednesday, June 14,2006 00:00
by (Reuters)

 Egyptian police arrested 110 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, and beat and teargassed others as they protested outside a courthouse in which a prominent Brotherhood member was on trial, sources said.

The group’s Web site and an eyewitness said thousands of police had surrounded the demonstrators in the large Nile Delta town of Zasgazig and had dispersed the crowd using sticks, teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

The Web site said 10 demonstrators had been injured and 110 arrested but an eyewitness gave a higher figure. Egypt’s Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

"The police attacked with sticks, teargas and water cannons. There were people injured through suffocation and beatings. People were taken to hospital," witness Nasser Nouri said.

The protest was in support of Hassan el-Hayawan, who was on trial on charges of possessing firearms without a licence, obstructing voting and being a member of an illegal organisation. He was later acquitted.

The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s strongest opposition group and is usually tolerated despite being banned as an illegal organisation. It fields parliamentary candidates as independents to side-step the ban.

The arrests come shortly after U.S. lawmakers narrowly defeated a bid to cut aid to Cairo on Thursday, a move intended to show U.S. displeasure with Egypt’s democratic setbacks. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel.

The United States publicly criticised Egypt three times last month for its harsh crackdown on political dissent.

The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s strongest opposition group and is usually tolerated despite being banned as an illegal organisation. It fields parliamentary candidates as independents to side-step the ban.

The arrests come shortly after U.S. lawmakers narrowly defeated a bid to cut aid to Cairo on Thursday, a move intended to show U.S. displeasure with Egypt’s democratic setbacks. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel.

The United States publicly criticised Egypt three times last month for its harsh crackdown on political dissent.


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