A crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement got underway in Egypt on Thursday with the arrest of several leading members following the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his replacement by a top judge.
A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood warned that the ouster of Morsi, a member of the movement, could prompt some groups to resort to violence, although he said the Brotherhood wouldn't do so. A coalition led by the Brotherhood called on Egyptians to mobilize peacefully in a "Friday of Rejection."
The deposed president was under house arrest at the Republican Guard Club, and most members of presidential team had also been placed under house arrest, a Brotherhood spokesman said.
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Judge Tharwat Hammad said Thursday that judicial authorities had opened an investigation into accusations that Morsi and eight other senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood had defamed the judiciary. All were banned from traveling. The prosecutor expects to question Morsi some time next week.
A prosecutor also ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, and a top deputy, Khairat el-Shater, for allegedly ordering the killing of protesters outside the Brotherhood's headquarters Sunday, judicial sources said. It wasn't known where the two men were.
The action was taken as a judge appointed to Egypt's constitutional court by Hosni Mubarak — the strongman leader ousted by the Arab Spring uprising — was sworn in as interim president Thursday.
Adly Mansour, chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, pledged to look after the interests of "the great people of Egypt," promised new elections and urged the revolutionaries who helped topple Morsi to stay in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Mansour, 67, said he would respect the rule of law and "look after the interests of the people," according to a live translation by BBC News.