Egyptian authorities arrested some 200 Muslim Brotherhood activists on Monday north of Cairo, in the northern Sinai Peninsula, as well as in Sohag, south of Cairo. Representatives of the movement claimed that national police seized computers and campaign leaflets of the outlawed but tolerated group during its crackdown.
An additional 710 activists are reportedly being held by police after being arrested in the previous two days of voting, the group’s deputy leader Mohamed Habib told reporters.
Members of the opposition Islamist group claim that the arrests were an attempt on the part of the Egyptian government to prevent them from gaining more power in polls in parliamentary elections this week after showing remarkable success in four days of voting.
The Brotherhood has increased its number of seats in Egypt’s parliament fivefold since voting began, winning 76 of parliament's 444 seats so far, according to Reuters.
The group's stated goals are to bring Egyptian legislation in line with Islamic laws and forward political freedom in Egypt.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarrak’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has won some195 seats, maintaining its control of parliament, however the Muslim Brotherhood’s gains have presented the NDP with a formidable opposition bloc.
Mohamed El Salahgi, a candidate of the Brotherhood, told reported that security forces had taken about 50 polling station monitors into custody in the early hours of the morning in the town of Damietta. "They just said: 'You are from the Brotherhood. Let's go,'" he said.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )