[JURIST] The Egyptian state prosecutor ordered an investigation Wednesday into accusations that 147 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] caused riots during unauthorized protests on Tuesday against the government for not allowing them to participate in municipal elections set for April 8. Egyptian security forces Tuesday arrested five members of the Brotherhood as they were posting campaign fliers on behalf of Muslim Brotherhood candidates slated to run in local council elections scheduled for April 8. All 147 under investigation were arrested Tuesday but have not been charged. Tuesday's arrests add to the over 800 Muslim Brotherhood members already in custody, including nearly 150 council election candidates. On Sunday, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] criticized the Egyptian government [statement; JURIST report] for the arrests, calling them a "shameless attempt to fix the upcoming elections." AP has more.
Last month, several provincial Egyptian courts ruled that members of the Muslim Brotherhood must be allowed to register as candidates in the upcoming elections, even as Egyptian police continued arrests of group members [JURIST reports]. Muslim Brotherhood members officially run as independents in elections as the organization has been banned in Egypt [JURIST news archive] since 1954. The Egyptian government has accused the group of trying to create an Islamic theocracy through violence.