Egypt prosecutor orders activists arrested

CAIRO Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:37pm EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's prosecutor general on Monday ordered the arrest of five prominent political activists pending an investigation into claims they had incited violence near the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters last week, a statement from the prosecutor said.

Those ordered arrested included Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a leading blogger who played a role in the protests that led to the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The five were also banned from travel.

They were accused of inciting "aggression against people, the destruction of property and disturbing civil peace in the events that erupted during the protest in front of the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters", the statement said.

At least 130 people were hospitalized after the violence near the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters last Friday.

The prosecutor general's move follows a threat on Sunday by President Mohamed Mursi to take measures to protect the nation. Mursi said "necessary measures" would be taken against any politicians found to be involved in the violence.

The protest on Friday was the latest in a series of violent demonstrations targeting Mursi and the Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled him to power in last June's election. The two sides blamed each other for the fighting.

Earlier, the Muslim Brotherhood filed a formal legal complaint against 169 people, including party leaders, whom it accused of involvement in the violence.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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