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Egypt Extends Detention of Almost 200 Demonstrators

Egyptian prosecutors have extended the detentions of almost 200 demonstrators arrested earlier this year during peaceful anti-government protests.

Media reports say the prosecutors ordered one group of 164 detainees and then a second group of at least 20, held for an additional 15 days.

The detainees are mostly members of the banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood.

The Reuters News Agency reports that the group of 164 are members of the Brotherhood. The agency says the remainder are secular opponents of the regime.

In May, riot police and plainclothesmen pummeled pro-reform demonstrators who gathered in Cairo to support two judges who had called last year's parliamentary elections fraudulent. The police arrested hundreds of protesters, accused of illegal assembly and blocking traffic.

Under emergency laws passed more than 20 years ago, the government can detain opponents for long periods of time.

The two judges were facing a disciplinary hearing. The disciplinary panel reprimanded one of the judges and cleared the other of misconduct.

The Bush administration has criticized President Hosni Mubarak's government for using violence to disperse the demonstrators. It has called on Egypt to allow peaceful protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.