Cairo, Nov 2 (AFP) Egyptian authorities have arrested at least 19 lawyers and rights activists, Amnesty International said, condemning what it called an "appalling setback".

The rights group called the arrests on Thursday "an alarming escalation of a crackdown on human rights workers" in Egypt.

"Today's chilling wave of arrests... is yet another appalling setback for human rights in Egypt," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaigns head. "Anyone who dares to speak out about human rights violations in Egypt today is in danger."

Eleven people close to Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood, including human rights activists, were arrested on Thursday, their lawyer said.

Lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud earlier told AFP that 11 activists close to the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested and expected to appear before a judge.

The Brotherhood was outlawed and branded a terrorist organisation in December 2013, months after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule.

Jihadists have waged an insurgency since Morsi's ouster, while the authorities have made thousands of arrests in a crackdown on dissent. (AFP)

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