Egyptian police used tear gas to break up what was said to be an unauthorized open-air prayer meeting of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, detaining more than 30 people, a security source said Saturday. Several hundred Brotherhood followers had gathered in Essalhia Al-Qadima, a village in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharquiya for the prayers to observe the start in Egypt of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Police intervened and dispersed the crowd, claiming the meeting had not been authorized by the Waqf ministry, which supervises religious affairs and which determines what places outside of mosques can be used for prayer. An Interior Ministry source claimed that 150 Brotherhood members, armed with sticks and iron bars, tried to prevent the government-approved prayer leaders from conducting the service.
According to the Muslim Brotherhood Web site, 15 people were injured during clashes with police.