Egypt Goes After Muslim Brotherhood, Again

The Muslim Brotherhood said Saturday that Egyptian authorities detained 43 members of the fundamentalist group over the past two days, including 25 as they were hanging posters condemning Egypt’s emergency laws.

Leading Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi also charged that baton-wielding police beat lawmakers from the group during a protest Thursday to support judges facing a disciplinary hearing for alleging fraud in last year’s parliamentary elections.

He told The Associated Press that Brotherhood lawmakers held Interior Minister Habib el-Adly responsible for what he called the “excessive use of force” and planned to demand a no-confidence vote be held in parliament to remove el-Adly from his position.

Organizers said at least 16 demonstrators were arrested and one was beaten, but police have declined to confirm any arrests or clashes related to Thursday’s protests.

The 25 Brotherhood members were taken into custody in the Nile Delta province of el-Sharqiya, while state security officials arrested 18 others in Giza, near the capital of Cairo, according to the group’s Web site. Police refused to comment on the claim.

The site said the arrests were part of “the campaign launched by the Egyptian regime against all the political forces and currents demanding political reform, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Outlawed since 1954, the Brotherhood is tolerated within limits. Its candidates, fielded as independent, won 88 seats in the 454-member parliament in elections late last year.

The Brotherhood and other opposition groups have been demanding an end to emergency laws in place since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, which give security forces broad powers to arrest and detain people.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered the release of 120 university students suspected of membership in the outlawed Brotherhood.

Morsi warned in comments posted on the group’s Web site that “if the Egyptian regime wants to bring the people back to square one, this will not happen. The march of reform will continue until the demands of the nation are met.”