Egypt Prime Minister: Dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood

Amid national turmoil, Hazem el-Beblawi proposes the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood

Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi told reporters that he is opposed to reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters/Landov

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi proposed the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, Friday, a move that could force the group back underground and usher in mass arrests of its members countrywide. The proposal followed a six-week-long standoff between supporters and military-backed opponents of deposed President Mohamed Morsi that ultimately turned violent.

"There will be no reconciliation with those whose hands have been stained with blood and who turned weapons against the state and its institutions," Beblawi told reporters.

Beblawi made the proposal to the ministry of social affairs, the body responsible for licensing non-governmental organizations, government spokesman Sherif Shawky told Reuters.

"It is being studied currently," he added.

The Muslim Brotherhood registered itself as a non-governmental organization in March in response to a court case brought by opponents of the group who contested its legality.

The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, was dissolved by Egypt's military rulers in 1954, but remained active within Egyptian society largely underground. After the overthrow of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the group legally registered the Freedom and Justice Party and fielded candidate Mohamed Morsi for president. He won in 2012.

With Morsi's victory, the Muslim Brotherhood appeared to cement itself in the heart of power for years to come. However, accusations that his administration was incompetent and intent on monopolizing power tarnished the group's reputation.

Timeline: Egypt in Turmoil

Spurred by Tamarod, a rebellion movement, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, the one-year anniversary of Morsi's election, demanding that he step down.

The Egyptian army removed Morsi from office on July 3, it said, to avoid a civil war, and promptly arrested several party leaders. Prosecutors later announced that Morsi is under investigation for a host of allegations, including murder and conspiring with members of the Palestinian group Hamas to escape prison during the nation's "Arab Spring" revolution in 2011.

Since then, state media has turned against the group and there appeared to be little sympathy for the Brotherhood faithful amongst ordinary Egyptians.

"Democracy did not work for Egypt I am afraid," said Hussein Ahmed, a 30-year-old Egyptian banker in Cairo, who had protested against Mubarak in the 2011 uprising.

"Yes the Brotherhood were elected, but they never cared about rights or freedoms of anyone but their own group. Why should we feel sorry for them now?"

Brotherhood leaders accused the military of deliberately sabotaging their time in office and staging a coup – urging followers to remain in the streets of Cairo until Morsi was reinstated.

After two anti-coup protest camps were crushed by police Wednesday, the Brotherhood launched a "Day of Rage" on Friday, and clashes left at least 173 dead. They have urged their supporters to take to the streets daily in the week ahead.

Security forces cleared anti-coup protesters from Fateh mosque in Cairo Saturday after a violent day-long siege. Protesters trapped inside since violence flared near the mosque Friday evening had refused to leave for fear of being attacked by what they described as "thugs" among the crowds waiting outside.

Egyptian government sources told Al Jazeera that 250 Brotherhood followers detained Saturday faced possible charges of murder, attempted murder and terrorism.

The interior ministry said police had arrested more than 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood "elements" since Friday.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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