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10 Jul, 2013 10:45

Muslim Brotherhood leader’s arrest ordered for ‘inciting violence’

An Egyptian prosecutor has ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, MENA state agency reports. Badie was charged with inciting violent clashes outside the Republican Guard headquarters which left over 55 dead and hundreds injured.

The arrest of other senior Brotherhood officials were also ordered, including Badie's deputy Mahmoud Ezzat, and party leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagi. Arrest warrants for seven others accused of inciting violence were also issued.

A spokesman for the Islamic movement said none of the leaders have been arrested, describing the charges against them as an attempt to break up an ongoing vigil calling for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Gehad el-Haddad, a senior adviser to the Muslim Brotherhood, told RT the issuance of arrests warrants were part and parcel of a “police state” colluding with a “treasonous” judiciary to silence all voices oppose to the toppling of the democratically elected Morsi government.

“The [arrest] list includes 18 names, half of whom are from the Muslim Brotherhood.  The rest are different figures from around the society. You have nothing to tie them together except for the fact that they oppose the military coup,” he argues.

He previously told Reuters that some of the wanted leaders were currently attending the protest. Thousands of Brotherhood followers have been holding a vigil near the mosque demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, whose government was toppled by the military last week. 

It is widely thought that the Brotherhood’s leader could be inside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, RT’s Paula Slier reports from Cairo. 

The question is to be answered as to how the police are actually going to enter this massive crowd and arrest Mohamed Badie,” she observed. The concern is that this is going to ultimately lead to more violence from both sides, Slier said. The announcement about the arrest “has been greeted with grate anger by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.”

Both sides, as well as the military, have been “extremely hot-headed and adamant that they are going to stick to their guns.”  Slier said that there are many people in Egypt who fear that the longer the violent conflict continues, “the more likely it is that we’re going to see this country on the brink of some kind of a civil war.

Mohamed Badie, Egypt's Muslim brotherhood leader (AFP Photo)

Early on Monday soldiers and police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse Morsi supporters who had gathered outside of the army’s Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo. Up to 55 people were killed in the clashes, with over 430 being injured, according to the Egypt’s Ministry of Health.

The Egyptian army says it only moved in against the demonstrators after “an armed group” attempted to storm the army headquarters. The further said one officer was killed and 42 soldiers were injured in the melee.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International said it had evidence showing Egyptian security forces had used “disproportionate force” to quell unrest outside the army headquarters on Monday, urging that the police and military be reined in to avoid “disaster”

"Despite claims by the military that protesters attacked first during clashes on Monday and that no women and children were injured, first-hand accounts collected by Amnesty International paint a very different picture," the group's deputy regional director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said in a statement.

The group further pointed out that many of those killed and injured had been shot in the head and upper body with shotgun pellets and live ammunition.

"Even if some protesters used violence, the response was disproportionate and led to the loss of life and injury among peaceful protesters," Sahraoui added.

Rocky transition

On Tuesday Egypt's military-backed interim President Adly Mansour appointed the economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister in a bid to facilitate a speedy transition to civilian rule. The internationally recognized opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, was also appointed vice-president.

In an attempt to placate the Brotherhood, el-Beblawi said he would offer cabinet positions to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to members of the hardline Islamist Nour Party.

"There is no objection at all to including members of those two parties in the government," a presidential spokesman said.

The interim PM is expected to begin talks Wednesday on forming a cabinet.

However, Mohamed Soudane, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political branch spokesman, said the movement had no intention of joining the new Egyptian government.

“We have opposed from the beginning what is happening in Egypt, how could we participate in the transitional government? It would be participating in a crime,” Soudane told France 24.

Referencing the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, he continued, “The situation in Egypt is now worse than that which prevailed before the revolution of 25 January 2011.”

Further complicating attempts at a peaceful transition, Egypt's main secular opposition coalition, The National Salvation Front (NSF), joined Islamists in rejecting Mansour's proposed timetable for revising the suspended constitution and holding both parliamentary and presidential elections.