By Tom Perry
CAIRO, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Egypt’s army-backed government has decided to annul the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal registration within days, a newspaper said on Friday, pressing a crackdown on deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s movement.
While short of a formal ban, the move underlined the government’s determination to crush the Brotherhood. The authorities accuse the group that won five successive elections since 2011 of terrorism and inciting violence.
But so far they have failed to snuff out nationwide demonstrations demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, ousted by the army on July 3 after mass protests, or stem a rise in militancy, which culminated on Friday in an attempt to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo.
The Brotherhood, sworn to peaceful protest, condemned the attack but urged its supporters to fill the streets of Egypt’s towns and cities again on Friday, for the third time in eight days, to reject what it calls an army coup against democracy.
Authorities are pursuing the toughest crackdown in decades on the Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest political grouping.
Since July, they have killed more than 900 of Morsi’s supporters and arrested most of the movement’s leaders, including Morsi, on charges of murder or inciting violence against anti-Brotherhood protesters.
The symbolic move to cancel its legal status applies to the non-governmental organisation registered by the Brotherhood in March as a defence against legal challenges.
The privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper said the decision would be taken within days, quoting Hany Mahana, spokesman for Social Solidarity Minister Ahmed el-Boraie.
The same official was quoted by the state-run Al-Akhbar newspaper as saying the decision had already been taken:
« The minister’s decision has in fact been issued but it will be announced at the start of next week in a press conference. »
Mahana could not be reached for comment, and a government official denied a decision had been taken.
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