An Egyptian court officially banned the Muslim Brotherhood from all operations across the country including a freeze on all of the organization's assets and a ban on affiliated groups.
"The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," said presiding Judge Mohammed al-Sayed.
The Guardian reports:
In practice, the group had almost been forced underground already by the arrest this summer of thousands of its members – including most of its leaders – and the killing of about 1,000 more.
It is a familiar predicament for the Brotherhood, which has been banned for most of its 85-year history and has successfully fought off every threat to its existence. [...]
Brotherhood members who remain at liberty say that the arbitrary arrests and state-led killings of their colleagues remain a far more serious threat to the organization's operational capacity.
Following the revolutionary movement that forced former president Hosni Mubarak out of power in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood was the first political organization to gain power when a presidential election went to Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi. However, under the rule of Morsi the group quickly came under fire for what protesters said was a consolidation of power within the government and heavy-handed anti-democratic policies. A military coup eventually lead to Morsi's ouster in June and a violent crackdown on the organization and its leadership followed.
The latest development is likely to cause further anger among Brotherhood supporters and many worry that their further disenfranchisement could lead to increased factionalization and more violence as the country struggles to regain its political footing.
"People think the Brotherhood can be dissolved through governmental decisions. But it has existed for 85 years and survived far worse," Abdel-Rahman Daour, a pro-Morsi activist told the Guardian.
"No one is going to leave. But it's going to get more revolutionary," Daour said.
Meanwhile, even those not aligned with the Brotherhood issued caution over the consequences of the court ruling. As the Associated Press reports:
Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has warning against driving the Brotherhood completely underground, saying monitoring of political parties is a more reasonable alternative.
Ahmed Darrag, leader of liberal al-Dustour party, said the group's network was already largely underground. He argued that court rulings are not the way to confront the group.
"You can only confront ideas by ideas," he said.