Tags: egypt protests

Egypt Shuts Down Internet, Rounds Up Opposition

Friday, 28 Jan 2011 09:50 AM


President Barack Obama may have called for Egypt to avoid violence and to allow freedom of speech and assembly ahead of protests scheduled against President Hosni Mubarak Friday, but early signs are the regime is using most means at its disposal to crush a swelling and stunning wave of dissent in the Arab world's largest country, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Overnight in Egypt, the government shut down the vast majority of Egypt's Internet service, only allowing a network used by the stock exchange and most banks to stay live. Text message services were shut down in an effort to disrupt protest organization and all cell phone service was ordered shut in select locations according to Vodafone, one of Egypt's two main cellphone companies. There were reports of hundreds of activists detained by the police.

Reporters in Cairo said waves of baltageya, plain-clothes thugs allied with state security, were unleashed on the streets. CNN's Ben Wedeman reported on his twitter feed watching a car load of baseball bats being brought into the grounds of the government TV building (some people are still getting internet access via cellphones registered in foreign countries).

There were tens of thousands of protesters, at least, on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city. Al Jazeera reported that democracy figurehead and Nobel Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei was detained by police, but Al Arabiya was reporting that he and supporters in Cairo were simply penned in by riot police near the mosque in Cairo where they had attended noon prayers.

Egyptians pushing for regime change and democracy in Egypt have won this round, simply by making good on their promise of the largest protest against the government since three days of bread riots in 1977. The government was apparently hoping that shutting down internet and phone communications would head off the protests, but the blood and sinew of thousands poured out of the mosques anyways.

Read the entire story at csmonitor.com

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2011-50-28
Friday, 28 Jan 2011 09:50 AM
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