News Agencies,Egypt Arrests 200 Brotherhood Supporters Ahead of Vote

Egypt Arrests 200 Brotherhood Supporters Ahead of Vote
CAIRO, November 20, 2005 ( & News Agencies) – Close to 300 supporters and activists of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood were arrested as the second phase of polling in Egypt’s parliamentary elections opened Sunday, November 20.
Around 100 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which stunned the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in the first round, were detained early Sunday in the Fayyum governorate some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Cairo, security sources told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Issam El-Aryan confirmed the arrests and said another 14 supporters had been detained Sunday in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiya, north of Cairo.
“We insist on continuing the polling and these arrests are evidence of the ruling party’s intereference in the elections. The next phases could be very tough,” he told AFP.
On Saturday, November 19, another 80 supporters of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate running in the southern Nile resort city of Luxor were also rounded up.
On Friday, four supporters of the officially banned but tolerated movement were also arrested while handing out leaflets in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, considered to be the stronghold of the group.
Observers and the Muslim Brothers have warned of a government crackdown following their major gains in the first round, during which they mustered 34 seats, double the tally in the 2000 polls.