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Top Egypt prosecutor issues arrest warrants for 5 activists

Egypt's top prosecutor issued arrest warrants on Monday against five activists for their alleged involvement in recent clashes between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood [party website]. The warrants were issued against activists opposing the Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] following violent clashes that occurred Friday [AP report] outside the Brotherhood's headquarters, in which more than 200 individuals on both sides were injured. This recent incident was tied to an incident earlier this month in which Brotherhood members attacked a group of activists who were spray-painting anti-Brotherhood graffiti outside the group's headquarters. Rights activists have stated that the warrants could mark the beginning of an intimidation campaign against Morsi's opposition and alleged that the prosecutor has ignored violent acts carried out by Morsi's supporters. Morsi warned his opposition [AP report] in a speech Sunday that he would take measures to "protect this nation" if the violence did not cease.

Egypt has been plagued by protests and violence since the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] two years ago. Earlier this month a Cairo court affirmed the death sentences [JURIST report] of 21 individuals convicted of inciting a deadly riot after a soccer match in Port Said last February, which killed 74 people and injured more than a thousand. Dozens have died in street protests since the death sentences were originally handed down in late January, leading Morsi to declare a state of emergency [JURIST report] in an attempt to quell the violent protests that subsequently erupted. In January, an Egyptian rights group reported that police abuse and torture continue to be ongoing issues [JURIST report] and police conduct has not improved since the abuses faced under the old regime. In December, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] indefinitely halted operations [JURIST report] amid pressure from protesters aiming to block judges from meeting to rule on the validity of the country's new constitution.

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