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Judges supporters dispersed with tear gas

CAIRO, May 17 (UPI) -- Egyptian security forces used tear gas to disperse Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators protesting against the trial of two reformist judges.

A statement by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization said more than 2,000 of its followers were harshly dispersed by police Wednesday as they gathered outside the court house in the province of Mounoufiya, 75 miles north of Cairo, to express support for judges Hisham Bastawisi and Mahmoud Makki.

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The statement said police fired tear gas at the demonstrators and arrested at least six people.

It said Egyptian police also besieged a group of protesters supporting the judges outside the court building of the city of Damanhour, 106 miles northwest of Cairo.

The interior ministry reiterated that it will ban demonstrations when the two judges appear in front of a disciplinary court Thursday for alleging that fraud took place in last year's parliamentary elections.

Bastawisi had a serious heart attack last night and was rushed to hospital in critical condition early morning. He arrived in full cardiac arrest and had to be revived with electrical shocks, Egyptian doctors said.

The director of Cleopatra Hospital, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, said Bastawisi underwent heart surgery and was placed in the intensive care unit.

The two judges have been charged with defaming the judiciary for talking to the media about fraud in the last election. A disciplinary court was due to give a verdict last Thursday, but the two judges refused to enter the courtroom after more than 10,000 soldiers and police sealed off a large section.

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