[JURIST] Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] Monday announced that it would boycott municipal elections [MP statement; press release] set for April 8, saying that the government has continuously blocked the group's efforts to field candidates in the election. Party Deputy Chairman Dr. Mohamed Habib said that the government has ignored court rulings requiring it to allow Muslim Brotherhood candidates to register for candidacy. He further called the elections a "farce" and called for Egyptians to boycott the vote. Reuters has more.
Last week, five Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested [JURIST report] as they tried to hang campaign posters, joining the over 800 party members already in custody, including 148 council election candidates. Prosecutors also announced that an additional 147 members are under investigation [JURIST report] for causing riots during unauthorized protests against the government. Human Rights Watch has criticized the Egyptian government [HRW statement; JURIST report] for the arrests, calling them a "shameless attempt to fix the upcoming elections." Muslim Brotherhood members officially run as independents in elections as the organization has been banned in Egypt [JURIST news archive] since 1954. The Egyptian government has accused the group of trying to create an Islamic theocracy through violence.