CAIRO (AFP) — Egyptian opposition movement Kefaya on Thursday slammed a wave of arrests of its members for involvement in violent protests earlier this week, saying the authorities were behind the unrest.
The movement, whose popular demonstrations calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down grabbed the spotlight in 2005, said that 61 of its members had been arrested including former chief George Ishaq on Wednesday night.
The arrests came after two days of unrest, sparked by a call for a general strike to be held on Sunday. At least one person was killed and 300 arrested in the rioting in the Nile Delta industrial city of Mahalla.
"George Ishaq was arrested on the orders of the magistrate for incitement to strike, calling for demonstrations and involvement in the troubles in Mahalla," a security official said.
However, Kefaya leader Abdelwahab al-Missir told journalists in Cairo that the authorities were behind the violence in Mahalla as "agents were employed to create chaos and justify the massacre."
Kefaya number two Abdelhalim Qandil slammed what he said was excessive use of force by the authorities, including the use of tear gas, rubber coated bullets and live rounds on demonstrators who replied by throwing stones.
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