CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian police detained dozens of people including prominent members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement on Monday to prevent them demonstrating against Israel’s ground attack in the Gaza Strip.
Riot police reached Tahrir Square in central Cairo early in the day to thwart the Brotherhood’s plans for a protest. Other members of the group were detained before they reached Cairo.
Israel’s 10-day offensive has so far killed at least 541 Palestinians, and Israeli leaders made clear they were in no rush to pull back ground and air forces despite growing international pressure.
The Brotherhood, which is allied to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, shifted its protest plans to a site several miles north of the city center but police deployed there too, witnesses and Brotherhood sources said.
Reuters photographer Nasser el-Nouri said: “I saw at least 15 people arrested there.”
In the Nile Delta province of Dakahlia police detained 22 Brotherhood members who were preparing to travel to Cairo for the protest, including four members of the provincial leadership, the sources said.
In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria police detained seven members on Sunday, they added.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been active in opposition to the Egyptian government’s policy on Gaza, which includes cooperating with Israel in the blockade of the impoverished coastal strip.
On Friday police detained 20 members of the Brotherhood and deployed in force to foil mass demonstrations.