Friday 20 April 2018

Egypt army swoops on Brotherhood members

Protesters against ousted President Mohamed Mursi wave Egyptian flags in Tahrir Square
Protesters against ousted President Mohamed Mursi wave Egyptian flags in Tahrir Square

Richard Spencer Cairo

Egypt's new military leaders have tightened their grip on the country, arresting the Muslim Brotherhood's leader and throwing other Islamists in the same jail where deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak is being held.

To the shock of Egypt's backers in the West, the army showed no sign of compromise after its move to depose President Mohammed Morsi.

Pro-Brotherhood TV stations were taken off the air, and the organisation said state-owned printers had refused to publish the newspaper of the Freedom and Justice Party.

Amr Moussa, the former Arab League head, admitted that General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the defence minister, was leading discussions on appointing a new government, not the newly sworn interim president Adly Mansour.

He confirmed that Mohamed ElBaradei was one of a number of names being considered as an interim prime minister.

Meanwhile, the army gave a list of 200 Brotherhood leaders to police for arrest. Mohammed Badie, the organisation's Supreme Guide, was detained in Mersa Matrouh.

SEIZED

The state news agency said those already seized were being held in the capital's Torah Prison, currently home to Mr Mubarak.

There was no immediate sign that street support for military intervention had diminished, but some opposition leaders who had backed the army expressed veiled concern.

"We reject excluding any party, particularly political Islamic groups," said the opposition coalition of which Mr Moussa is part, the National Salvation Front.

Fighter jets swooped in formation over the capital. At one stage they drew hearts in the sky with their tail-fumes in response to the popular chants of "The army and people are one hand" with which crowds in Tahrir Square welcomed Mr Morsi's dismissal from the president's office on Wednesday.

But across the country, the authority of the military state was imposed in a manner not seen since the darkest days of the Mubarak era. Misr 25, the main Brotherhood TV station, was shut down and its staff arrested.

At the pro-Morsi encampment in Cairo, full of despondent Muslim Brotherhood supporters, shots rang out immediately after General Sisi appeared on Wednesday night to confirm Mr Morsi's removal.

A journalist said: "There are now bloodied stones near the gate of the building. I don't think there's any doubt the shots were fired down into the crowd from above."

There had been a taste of what was to come the night before when a Brotherhood rally was fired on with 18 dead near Cairo University. There were 10 more deaths around the country.

Liberal politicians who backed the military action defended what was happening. Mr Moussa said they were "precautionary measures". (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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