(LONDON) -- Hundreds and possibly thousands of people have been rounded up by the Egyptian military since massive anti-government protests began more than two weeks ago, according to Britain's The Guardian, dispelling the army's contention that it’s remaining neutral in the crisis.
Human rights activists have told the newspaper that some of those detained have been tortured.
Acting on those reports, The Guardian said it has interviewed former detainees who've spoken of beatings at the hands of the military in what seems to be a campaign of intimidation to break the back of opposition forces calling for the immediate ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
For years, Egyptians have accused Mubarak's state security intelligence (SSI) of regularly abusing political opponents with the army typically absolved of any blame.
These new reports suggest that the Egyptian government is now employing drastic measures to retain control. While human rights activists and journalists have been released from custody since the unrest began in late January, there are allegations of thousands of people disappearing throughout Egypt.
One activist told The Guardian, "Their range is very wide, from people who were at the protests or detained for breaking curfew to those who talked back at an army officer or were handed over to the army for looking suspicious or for looking like foreigners even if they were not. It's unusual and to the best of our knowledge it's also unprecedented for the army to be doing this."
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