[JURIST] Egyptian police arrested 39 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood (MB) [party website; FAS backgrounder] on Monday, including three local party leaders in the city of Kafr El Sheikh, according to an MB statement [press release]. The group has accused the government of illegally blocking attempts by MB candidates to run in local 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. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.
In April, five Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested [JURIST report] as they tried to hang campaign posters, joining the over 800 party members already in custody at that time, including 148 council election candidates. Prosecutors also announced that an additional 147 members were under investigation [JURIST report] for causing riots during unauthorized protests against the government. Human Rights Watch criticized the Egyptian government [HRW statement; JURIST report] for the arrests, calling them a "shameless attempt to fix the upcoming elections."