CAIRO -Egyptian authorities ordered that former President Mohammed Morsi be detained for 15 days pending investigation into a slew of accusations, further upsetting a fragile political scene more than three weeks after the elected president was unseated.
The accusations against Morsi include that he conspired with the Palestinian group Hamas to carry out acts of violence in Egypt, the state news agency MENA said.
The development precedes a day of rival protests to support or oppose Morsi, who was unseated July 3 when General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ushered in a transition plan that suspended the constitution and dissolved the legislature. Adly Mansour was appointed interim president and a new cabinet was formed. The country is preparing for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.
On Wednesday, Sisi interfered in civilian politics again, calling for Egyptians to take to the streets to "give me, the army and police a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism."
The call for protests may indicate impending heightened crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts and activists said, and threaten to propel more violence that in recent weeks has included attacks on security outposts in the Nile Delta city of Mansour, and in the restive Sinai Peninsula. At least 100 people have also died in clashes.
"The state has nothing but a security approach to deal with this crisis, which will lead to a lot of violence, and killings and blood," said Khalil Al-Anani, an expert on Egyptian politics and Islamist movements.
Since July 3, authorities have shut down Islamist television stations, Brotherhood leaders and members have been arrested and more than 50 people were killed after security forces opened fire on a pro-Morsi demonstration. The Brotherhood and Morsi's supporters reject the transition plan and demand the ousted president be reinstated.
Mohamed Kadry Said, a retired general and head of the security studies unit at Cairo's Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said Sisi might be planning to increase military action in the Sinai Peninsula as well as against Morsi supporters, who continue to hold protests and sin-ins.
"Maybe he is saying to them: This is a serious step to close the book, to end this struggle," Said said.
At the very least, it will lead to human rights violations by the state, said Nadine Sherif, international advocacy officer at the Cairo Institute or Human Rights Studies.
"It's unacceptable," Sherif said. "The military should not be policing people."