World

Egypt orders arrest of 5 activists

CAIRO — Egypt’s top prosecutor issued arrest warrants on Monday for five rights activists on suspicion of inciting violence against members of the president’s Muslim Brotherhood.

A statement posted on the attorney general’s official Facebook page said all five have also been banned from traveling abroad. The prosecutor also issued summons for a sixth activist, Nawara Negm, daughter of Egypt’s best known satirical poet, for questioning over the same allegations.

The warrants came a day after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi warned his opponents, saying he may be close to taking unspecified measures to protect the nation. The warning came during a speech in which the president was angry, shouting and pounding on the table at times. Monday’s warrants followed the issuing of summonses earlier in the day for a larger group of politicians and activists for questioning over clashes on Friday outside the Brotherhood’s office, the worst between the group’s members and opponents in three months.

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The five activists are: Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Ahmed Douma, Karim El-Shaer, Hazem Abdel-Azim, and Ahmed Ghoneimi. They were at the forefront of both the 18-day uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and a subsequent campaign against generals who succeeded him and ruled for nearly 17 months.

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Abdel-Fattah said minutes after news of the warrants broke that he was consulting with his lawyers on what to do next.

The warrants are a significant escalation in the ongoing tug of war between Morsi and his Islamist allies in one camp and a mostly secular and liberal opposition backed by moderate Muslims, minority Christians and a large segment of educated and urban women in the other.

Associated Press