(dpa) - Egyptian police on Thursday arrested 45 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group in an ongoing crackdown ahead of local elections in April 8, security sources said.
The group members were arrested in different cities across the country, security officials told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
In Sharqia 16 were detained, another 14 were arrested in Kafr al- Sheikh, while other arrests took place in Alexandria, Damietta and Sohag.
The arrested were charged with belonging to an outlawed political group and organizing moves disturbing security in Egypt's streets.
Since the beginning of this month, at least 270 Muslim Brotherhood members have been detained after protests, said Mohamed Habib, a senior member in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The protesters called for implementing rulings that allow them political participation in the local elections.
Some 6,000 members of the brotherhood filed 2,420 lawsuits against Egypt's Interior Ministry for violation of election regulations.
Habib said the court ruled in favour of 3,000 members, but the rulings have not been implemented.
Despite the authorities' approval of 498 applicants to run in the elections, only 20 members were officially listed as candidates.
The Egyptian police on Tuesday at least 62 members of the brotherhood were arrested in what police termed as clashes, but Habib rejected the term, saying the police abused protesters.
"Authorities are using all methods of suppression on the Muslim Brothers to prevent them from achieving any political and religious moves against corruption," Habib said.
This latest crackdown comes as the country braces for local elections on April 8. Egyptian authorities usually round up the group's candidates ahead of elections and releases them afterwards.
The Muslim Brotherhood is formally banned but its candidates ran in the 2005 general elections as independents and won one-fifth of the seats in parliament.