The Egyptian Prosecutor office in Egypt has ordered the arrest of at least nine Muslim Brotherhood senior figures, including the movement’s leader Mohamed Badie.
The charges stem from the violence which occurred outside the Republican Guard headquarters where 55 people were killed on Monday, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA.
The other senior Brotherhood officials who have been targeted for arrest include Badie’s deputy Mahmoud Ezzat and party leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagi.
The New York Times says that the Muslim Brotherhood denies that either Badie or the other party leaders have been arrested at this time.
In an interview with RT-TV, spokesman Gehad El-Haddad repeatedly blasted the charges as an attempt by the authorities to break up a vigil by as many as 100,000 Brotherhood supporters who are demanding reinstatement of Mohamed Morsi as the “democratically elected president” of Egypt. Morsi was ousted by the army last week.
The Huffington Post reports that in a telephone interview, El-Haddad claimed the charges were “nothing more than an attempt by the police state to dismantle the Rabaa protest.” The Rabaa Adaweya mosque in northeast Cairo is where the vigil is occurring, and where Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Mohamed Badie, are presumed to be held up. Indeed, El-Haddad confirmed that at least some of the leaders whose arrests were being sought were at the site of the protest.
As has been widely reported, on Monday, 55 people were killed and hundreds injured when shots rang out during what the Muslim Brotherhood called a peaceful protest outside the Republican Guards barracks. It is believed that Morsi himself is being held incommunicado in those selfsame barracks.
After the Monday shooting, which the Muslim Brotherhood has labeled a “massacre,” the Brotherhood did, in fact, call upon all Egyptians to “rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armored vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
The Egyptian Prosecutor, on the other hand, blamed “a terrorist group” for attempting to storm the Republican Guard compound. It said that one army officer had been killed and 40 others wounded. Soldiers only returned fire after being attacked by armed assailants, a military source told The New York Times.
As for the US, the State Department has condemned Monday’s shooting and called upon the Egyptian army to exercise “maximum restraint” in handling protesters.
Egypt’s newly appointed Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi was set to begin forming a cabinet Wednesday. He has said he will offer the Brotherhood significant positions in a new government, according to the BBC.
The Daily Telegraph reports that a Brotherhood spokesman dismissed any talk of joining a military-backed administration out of hand. He said that the notion of “national reconciliation” is “irrelevant.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his personal security.