Egyptian authorities on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Mohammed Badie, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], as well as nine other leading Islamists, in an escalation of the crackdown against protesters of Egypt's current military-backed leadership. Badie is accused of inciting violence [BBC report] in Cairo on Monday in which more than 50 people were killed. Reports of the violence conflict, as the Brotherhood reports that soldiers carried out a massacre of peaceful demonstrators, while police and military forces say they acted in self-defense. The issued warrants further highlight the military's zero-tolerance policy [AP report] toward the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, who continue to hold daily mass protests demanding the reinstatement of ousted president Morsi. Many Egyptians had hoped that Wednesday's start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would help to calm the ongoing turmoil, but the sunrise-to-sunset fasting may only diminish protest activity during daytime hours.
Although Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago, the conflict peaked last week after the Egyptian military deposed [JURIST report] then-president Mohamed Morsi [official BBC profile; JURIST news archive], in addition to suspending the nation's constitution and installing an interim government. The Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Adly Mansour [BBC profile], subsequently took the oath [JURIST report] to become the interim head of state. Only one day after Morsi was ousted, Egyptian authorities shut down four Islamist-run television stations [JURIST report], causing concern among groups such as Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Tuesday urged Egyptian authorities [JURIST report] to address the escalating violence. According to the OHCHR more than 80 people have been killed and over 1000 injured since political turmoil gripped the nation last week.