April 5, 2009 / 5:17 PM / 11 years ago

Egypt police detain Muslim Brotherhood blogger

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police have detained a Muslim Brotherhood blogger who backed calls for a national day of protests against the government, security sources said on Sunday.

Police detained Abdel Rahman Fares, 25, in the province of Fayoum, south west of Cairo while he was passing out flyers calling for the protests on Monday, the security source said.

Fares, who runs the blog "My tongue is my pen" (abdofares.blogspot.com/), was detained on suspicion of distributing literature promoting the Brotherhood's ideology and inciting citizens to strike, the source added.

A recent entry on the blog by Fares said he had been contacted shortly after midnight on Wednesday by state security and asked to go to their offices. There was no indication whether he complied or not.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry could not be reached for comment.

The Brotherhood is Egypt’s strongest opposition group. The government calls it an outlawed organisation but allows it to operate relatively openly, though its members are frequently detained and held for weeks without charge.

Fares’ detention comes a day after Egyptian police beat and detained at least 18 members of a protest group, called Sixth of April Youth, that is calling for the national strike under the slogan “It’s our right, and w’ll take it.”

The government is engaged in a crackdown on activists involved with calls for the strike.

The group, formed after clashes on April 6 last year in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla el-Kubra between police and workers demanding more pay to compensate for soaring inflation, have called for a strike to mark the anniversary of the clashes.

Three people were killed and more than 150 injured over two days of unrest in Mahalla, the culmination of more than a year of strikes by workers at a giant state-run textile factory.

Sixth of April Youth has since transformed itself into a broader anti-government movement, collecting members through the social networking site Facebook, which along with blogs has emerged as a major forum for government critics in Egypt.

Members of parliament for the Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday they would not participate in the session of parliament in solidarity with the strike.

Writing by Aziz el-Kaissouni

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