CAIRO — Egyptian security forces arrested a prominent political activist Thursday night over inciting a demonstration in defiance of a new law heavily restricting protests in the country, his family said.
The arrest of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a blogger who rose to prominence in Egypt's 2011 revolution, quickly dominated social media. His previous detention sparked protests against the military, which appeared likely again as recently quiet liberal and secular groups have expressed increasing alarm over the military-backed government since it enacted the new protest law this week.
Meanwhile, police used tear gas and water cannons Thursday to disperse protesting students and supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president, sparking clashes that killed one person
Abdel-Fattah's father, prominent lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam, told the Associated Press that security forces raided his son's home Thursday night in Cairo. His father said that Abdel-Fattah's wife was beaten during the raid and that authorities seized laptops from the house.
An Interior Ministry official later confirmed police arrested Abdel-Fattah over the warrant, but offered no other details.
After the raid, Abdel-Fattah's wife, Manal Bahy Eldin, wrote on Twitter: "If police beat me up while I am in my home, what would they do with Alaa? I am very worried about him."
Egypt's prosecutor general had issued a warrant for Abdel-Fattah's arrest and that of another youth leader for allegedly inciting a demonstration Tuesday, two days after interim President Adly Mansour enacted the new protest law. It requires three-day prior notice to the Interior Ministry for protests to take place, while also setting prison terms and high fines for violators.