CAIRO -- Egypt's military rulers formally dissolved parliament Friday, state media reported, and security forces were stationed around the building on orders to bar anyone, including lawmakers, from entering the chambers without official notice.
The developments, reported on the Web site of the official newspaper Al Ahram, further escalated tensions over court rulings Thursday that invalidated modern Egypt's first democratically elected legislature.
The rulings, on the eve of a presidential runoff, thrust the nation's troubled transition to democracy since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak last year into grave doubt.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that dominates the parliament, has said it disputes the court's ruling and its authority to dissolve the legislature.
Saad el Katatni, the Brotherhood-picked parliament speaker, accused the military-led government Friday of orchestrating the ruling.
Authorities set up checkpoints overnight and contingents of riot police were moving around the city to prepare for any disturbances.
The runoff, set for today and Sunday, pits Ahmed Shafiq, a military-rooted strongman promising a firm hand to ensure stability, against Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi.
Repressed under the Mubarak regime, the Brotherhood rose to become the strongest political force in parliament after elections that started in November.
But it lost that power when the legislature was dissolved Thursday.
The Brotherhood is now hoping to salvage its position by portraying itself as the last bulwark against forces loyal to the ousted president.