Egypt arrests 3 Facebook admins ahead of Jan. 25 anniversary
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities arrested three people who administer 23 Facebook pages, accusing them of using the networking website to incite against state institutions.
The Interior Ministry on Saturday accused two men, both age 27, and a 25-year-old women of being members in the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt outlawed the Brotherhood in 2013 after the military overthrew elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Authorities have shown public concern over calls on social media to organize protests on Jan. 25 to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that removed longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, played a large part in organizing the Jan. 25 uprising, and other protests since then.
Last week, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi warned against any such protests, saying they could result in chaos.
On Monday, prosecutors ordered a 15-day detention for four activists from the April 6 movement, which helped engineer the 2011 uprising and was outlawed last year. The four were put under investigation on suspicion of protesting without a license and belonging to a banned organization.
The arrests are taking place amid a crackdown on art spaces in downtown Cairo, an area popular among activists. Tahrir square, the epicenter of the 2011 uprising, is also located in downtown Cairo.
Also on Monday, authorities raided the Townhouse Gallery, one of Egypt’s most popular art venues, a day before they raided Dar Merit, a publishing house where left-leaning intellectuals sometimes meet.
The officials shut down Townhouse Gallery, while two workers who were present at the time of the raid said they took a computer, a laptop, employees’ notebooks, and CDs and forced the employees to show them movies that were on their computers. The officials prevented people from leaving the venue during the raid.
In Dar Merit, officials detained a volunteer, Mohammed Zain, for about 12 hours, Dar Merit’s manager and owner Mohammed Hashem said. Zain was questioned about the political orientation of books and seminars at Dar Merit and about Hashem’s political views, Hashem said Wednesday.