On Tuesday, Egyptian security agents moved to raid 19 businesses and arrested 8 activists allegedly linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood who they accuse of funding a plot to overthrow the state.
Footage broadcast on Egyptian television showed police officers raiding the firms in the capital Cairo and the cities of Alexandria and Ismaila.
The arrests drew condemnation by Amnesty International, which described Egypt as "an open-air prison" where no opposition or independent reporting was allowed.
A statement released by the interior ministry said the busts were in response to the businesses allegedly funding a plot "intent on overthrowing the state and its institutions" this month.
According to the statement, 250 million Egyptian pounds ($15 million) was seized in the raids which targeted businesses affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
The businesses are being accused to being part of a plan along with groups "claiming to represent civil political forces" which sought to carry out "violent acts and unrest against the state", the interior ministry said.
Authorities said they had also identified and targeted the companies as being run via "secret methods" by Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the "provocateur elements" loyal to it.
Among the individuals arrested is prominent former lawmaker, Zyad el-Elaimy. el-Elaimy was a crucial player in the 2011 uprising that led to the departure of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, but it also opposed the government of Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who became the country's first freely elected president in 2012.
Abdelaziz el-Husseini, a senior leader in the Karama, or Dignity party, said Elelaimy and Monis took part in meetings with political parties and opposition legislators to discuss possibilities to run in the 2020 parliamentary elections. Their latest meeting was late on Monday in Cairo, he added.
It probably is this move to prepare the opposition into a coalition more prepared for next year's election that could have brought them under scrutiny.
A charge of joining and funding a terror group has been initially been raised against Hassan Barbary, another activist who was arrested in the raid.
He was placed in temporary detention for 15 days, the rights group said.
The government has recently come under fire over very questionable decisions it has been taking concerning the political landscape. It is just a week after its former President Morsi died under suspicious and unclear circumstances.
The government has been having widespread crackdowns on Islamists and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood as the government of former army general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been consolidating his power. Despite the international condemnation, the government has not been going back and says it is countering terrorism.
Header Image Credit: Al Jazeera