Egypt arrests 200 Islamists ahead of vote

Close to 200 supporters of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood were arrested before the start of the second phase of polling in Egypt’s parliamentary elections opened on Sunday, security sources said.

Around 100 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were detained early on Sunday in the Fayyum governorate about 100km south of Cairo, the sources said.

On Saturday, another 80 supporters of an Islamist candidate running in the southern Nile resort city of Luxor were also rounded up on Saturday.

On Friday, four supporters of the officially banned Islamist movement were also arrested while handing out leaflets in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Observers and the Muslim Brothers have warned of a government crackdown following their major gains in the first round, during which they mustered 34 seats, double the tally in the 2000 polls.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Issam al-Aryan confirmed the arrests and said another 14 supporters had been detained on Sunday in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiya, north of Cairo.

“We insist on continuing the polling and these arrests are evidence of the ruling party’s intereference in the elections. The next phases could be very tough,” he told AFP. - AFP

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