muslim brotherhood 311.
(photo credit: AP)
CAIRO — The London-based Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to refrain from harassing election candidates as hundreds of opposition members have been arrested and their marches dispersed.
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The opposition Muslim Brotherhood said Sunday that several of its rallies have been disrupted and more than a thousand of its members have been detained since the banned group announced their intention to contest elections last month.
"The Egyptian authorities must uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and ensure that peaceful protesters are not arbitrarily arrested and detained," the rights group's Mideast director, Malcolm Smart, said in the statement issued late Saturday.
Amnesty also said the government was restricting public access to
information by suppressing newspapers and satellite television stations.
The state press reported that clashes took place over the weekend across
six provinces, mostly in the north, the heartland of Brotherhood
support, and 30 policemen were injured. There were also some 20 marches
by Brotherhood supporters on Friday across the Egypt's second largest
city of Alexandria.
The port city's police chief told the daily Al-Shorouk that 2,000
supporters of Brotherhood parliamentary candidates marched through the
city blocking traffic and chanting religious slogans in violation of the
rule banning the use of religious imagery in campaigning.
The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood is the top rival to the ruling
party of President Hosni Mubarak heading into the Nov. 28 vote. Many in
Egypt fear the contest will see the same widespread violence that
plagued the last parliamentary elections, in 2005, when police and
government-backed vigilantes stopped people from casting ballots and
clashed with rivals.
The Brotherhood, which is the best-organized opposition force in the
country, says it has been pummeled by a wave of arrests with 300 members
and supporters of the movement taken since Friday.
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