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Egypt police detain 100 more Brotherhood activists

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, Apr 16 (Reuters) Egyptian police on Sunday detained 100 Muslim Brotherhood activists as part of a crackdown on the Islamist opposition group to undermine its campaign against emergency laws, the group's deputy leader said.

Mohamed Habib told Reuters the arrests were in southern Egypt. ''Some were taken from their homes, some from the street,'' he said. Some had been kept briefly then released, he said.

Nine Brotherhood activists had been detained in southern Egypt yesterday, he added.

''It's to do with the Brotherhood's campaign to end the emergency laws,'' he said. Opposition groups say the emergency laws, in force since 1981, have been used to curb political activities. The government says they are used to fight terrorism and narcotics.

The laws were last extended for three years in June 2003.

The ruling party has promised to replace the code with anti-terrorism legislation.

An Interior Ministry source said 95 Brotherhood activists had been arrested in the southern provinces of Qena and Assiut.

The detained activists had been planning demonstrations against the emergency laws, the source said.

Brotherhood student activists today protested at two Nile Delta universities against any extension of the laws.

Although the Brotherhood is outlawed, its members form the largest opposition bloc in parliament with nearly one fifth of the seats. They stand as independents to avoid the ban on their group.

The authorities occasionally crack down, arresting known Brotherhood members and holding them for belonging to an outlawed organisation.

The Brotherhood says the government is trying to rein it in after its success in parliamentary elections late last year.

The authorities refuse to grant the Brotherhood legal recognition as a political party on the grounds that the constitution bans parties based on religion.

REUTERS SI BST1954

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