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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 13:53 GMT
New Egypt Muslim Brothers arrests
Muslim Brotherhood supporter
Brotherhood members are regularly arrested by the authorities
Egyptian security forces have arrested members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement, hours after opposition MPs rejected key constitutional changes.

The most high-profile detainee was Mahmoud Ghozlan, of group's executive council. Reports say nine activists were seized in Cairo and the Delta.

The Brotherhood says the amendments are intended to block them from legitimate political participation.

The MB is banned but tolerated, putting election candidates up as independents.

It is Egypt's most powerful opposition group, and won nearly a fifth of seats in the 454-seat lower house of parliament in 2005.

Correspondents say officials are keen stop the Brotherhood now, in case it could eventually mount a serious challenge to President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.

Proposed amendments to the constitution weaken the role of judges in monitoring elections and give sweeping powers to police to tackle the threat of terrorism.

They also ban political activity based on religion - quashing the group's hopes of acquiring legal recognition as a political party.

Judges are seen as the best impartial guardians of elections by most Egyptians, although past elections have been widely criticised for fraud and rigging on behalf of the ruling NDP.




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