CAIRO: Egyptian security forces arrested 11 Muslim Brotherhood members accused of running Facebook pages inciting violence against the police, the Interior Ministry said Thursday, moving the crackdown on the group into social media.
The arrests were in connection to dozens of Facebook pages set up by Brotherhood supporters, urging protests against the military-backed government and denouncing the police, some of them set up the past two weeks.
Social media and Facebook in particular were main platform for organizing the country’s 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of longtime president Hosni Mubarak. Since then, fiercely anti-police pages have arisen during years of turmoil by youth of various stripes, including riotous soccer fans who often clash with police.
Of the Facebook pages investigated, at least one had pictures of an individual military officer whom the page said is “under the microscope.” Another had a posting calling for the burning of police stations.
Egyptian authorities have arrested thousands of members of the Brotherhood and killed hundreds of its members in clashes with protesters since army chief Abdul Fatah al-Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the group, on July 3 following giant rallies against Morsi.
The Brotherhood has held non-stop protests demanding Morsi’s reinstatement and denouncing the interim government installed by the military after his ouster.
At the same time, Islamic militants based in the Sinai have claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and shootings targeting police. The government says the Brotherhood orchestrated the attacks, branding it officially as a terrorist organization, but the group denies that claim.