Egyptian security forces have arrested the administrators of 47 Facebook pages that the interior ministry says are run by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, intensifying a crackdown on dissent as the fifth anniversary of a 2011 uprising approaches.
The popular revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule began with marches on Jan. 25, many of which were planned by youth activists on Facebook and other social media platforms.
As the anniversary of that uprising approaches, Egyptian security forces have arrested several activists and shut down cultural spaces to prevent them from gathering, while government-appointed clerics have preached against protests.
"The administrators of these pages were arrested on charges of inciting against state institutions and spreading the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as calling for marches on the coming Jan. 25," Interior Ministry spokesman Abu Bakr Abdel Karim said in a telephone interview with an Egyptian talk show late on Wednesday night.
It was not clear how many people managed the 47 pages.
"The ministry of interior will continue to stand against these terrorist pages that have long incited violence against state institutions and made fun of the major incidents experienced by the country recently," added Abdel Karim.
The Brotherhood and several liberal and left wing groups such as the secular 6 April youth movement have called for protests on the anniversary of the uprising, although not all explicitly call for Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's ouster.