Fresh off of yesterday’s declaration of the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization,” the Egyptian junta is arresting members of the Brotherhood’s political wing by the dozens on charges of “belonging to a terrorist organization.”
At least one member of the last elected Egyptian parliament was among the detainees, and police also arrested a number of people for handing out leaflets supporting the group and criticizing the ban.
The junta’s interior ministry has also issued a warning that any verbal expression of support for the Muslim Brotherhood is now a terrorist offense, and that even possession of literature associated with the group would carry a five year prison sentence.
Though much of the group’s leadership was arrested for anti-coup protests long ago, the latest ruling seems designed to complete the purge of the group, and to scare people away from demonstrations. It came with an edict granting the military new powers to crack down on public protests.
Analysts have also expressed concern that the crackdown could radicalize the Muslim Brotherhood’s remnants, convincing some that since they’re already officially “terrorists” there is really no additional risk to resorting to violence instead of demonstrating peacefully.