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Egypt detains activists before anniversary of revolution

Arrests and raids precede marking of 2011 revolution that saw the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak

Egyptian authorities are rounding up activists before the fifth anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and have detained at least five people this week.

Among those detained were three activists, including prominent physician Taher Mokhtar, who were detained in police raids at their apartments in downtown Cairo on Thursday, according to lawyer Mukhtar Munair.

A fourth person, poet Omar Hazek, was detained and quickly released but barred from leaving the country, according to a Facebook posting.

Also, the managing editor of the privately owned Masr al-Arabia news website, Ahmed Abdel-Gawad, was detained after security forces raided its office on Thursday, according to a statement from the outlet. He was released on Friday, a second statement said.

The detentions are the latest in what has been a persistent and extensive crackdown on Islamic and secular activists alike, launched after the military's 2013 ouster of Mubarak's successor, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.

The Egyptian government labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in 2014. Thousands of Brotherhood members have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment, and others are standing trial or being detained without formal charges.

As in past years, Egyptian authorities fear mass protests on the anniversary of the anti-Mubarak uprising, and former army chief turned President Abdel Fattah El Sisi warned such protests could result in chaos.

In addition to the crackdown on activists, authorities have raided arts venues and galleries popular among youth activists.

Wire services

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