CAIRO: Muslim Brotherhood members in parliament continue to appeal for what they have called a “confrontation with the Ministry of Interior and the Prime Minister. The Brotherhood says they still need explanations and justifications for the events of “Black Wednesday, involving large-scale arrests of Brotherhood members.
“This is pressure, not only on the interior minister, but also on the regime, said Mohammed Habib, first deputy to the Brotherhood’s supreme guide.
More than 300 Muslim Brotherhood members were detained as protests surged in support of two prosecuted judges who were critical of last year’s presidential electoral process. Charges were pressed against some, while others remain in custody without charges or trial.
In the protests, hundreds of security units encircled groups of protestors for hours and then used violence to disperse them. Truckloads of policemen and plainclothes officers were deployed to the scene. Many activists were kicked, beaten with shoes, batons and heavy truncheons. Reporters on the scene were also assaulted, with cameras confiscated and journalists threatened.
According to an Associated Press report, “Plainclothes police were seen plunging into a crowd of demonstrators and beating them with short batons until they fell to the ground.
Police grabbed a middle aged man by his collar and hit him repeatedly as he screamed, ‘I didn t do anything,’ read the report. “A policeman repeatedly slapped a young man in the face using both hands.
Throughout Egypt, independent and opposition newspapers have featured pictures of the events, as the Ministry of Interior denied the use of violence, saying that dispersing “illegal gatherings was necessary and even claimed that the protestors attacked security units and beat up policemen.
The day after Thursday’s violence-marred protests, senior Brotherhood leader and group spokesman Essam Al-Arian and leader Mohammed Mursi, who was reportedly assaulted by the police, were arrested and detained.
“The extreme cruelty, violence and wide-scale detentions . these methods that the government, under slogans of reform, uses to repress pro-reform voices shows that the government is losing its legitimacy and credibility, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, Brotherhood’s supreme guide, told a press conference on Tuesday.
“The Muslim Brothers that are suffering from prosecution and injustice are the responsibility of every Egyptian, every one who commits to protecting human rights and freedom and all those who are concerned with the problems of this nation, he said. “However, despite troubles we will continue on our path to reform, with the help of God, until we gain our rights and freedom.
Around 260 more Muslim Brotherhood members were detained in other pro-reform protests; some were even rounded up as they distributed leaflets criticizing the recently extended Emergency Law. The prosecution renewed their detention orders, but they have not yet faced trial.
Muslim Brotherhood parliament members have been calling for the release of all activists, demanding an investigation into police violence. When their requests were ignored, the Brotherhood decided to raise the stakes, threatening a sit-in in parliament if the ministry refused to meet them.
As Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif criticized the Brotherhood’s behavior in parliament, saying that they should not behave as a political group and that their presence will not be further tolerated by the state, condemnation of Nazif swelled.
“We have a secret organization represented in parliament, Nazif had told the press.
“The statements of Nazif [against the Brotherhood upper house members] show that he has no respect for the will of the people; especially those who chose and voted for those members, said upper house and Brotherhood member Mohammed Al-Katatny. “He does not even respect the constitution . he is not aware of the political reality.
Meanwhile, the Brotherhood is supporting a campaign by the Judges Club demanding the immediate release of all the detained activists in Tora Mazraa Prison, including the Muslim Brotherhood members. The campaign involves carrying out peaceful sit-ins and protests during the next week to put pressure on the government. The pre-trial detainees are accused, among other charges, of illegal gathering, insulting the president of the state, distributing leaflets and hampering traffic in downtown Cairo.