Egypt regime imposes lockdown, army to help in protest control

Egypt regime imposes lockdown, army to help in protest control

By | 2011-01-28T09:51:00-04:00 January 28th, 2011|News|0 Comments

Anti-regime protests spread nationwide

Egyptian military vehicles are sighted on the streets of Cairo after a day of violent clashes between police & protesters

Egypt announced curfew in Cairo, Alexandria & Suez as the Egyptian military would aid the security forces in controlling the growing protests nationwide, the Egyptian state TV said.

Egyptian military vehicles were sighted on the streets of Cairo after a day of violent clashes between police and protesters demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

President Mubarak has declared a curfew in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez from 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) until 7:00 am (0500 GMT), state television said.

"According to what some provinces witnessed in terms of riots, lawlessness, looting, destruction, attack and burning of public and private property including attacks on banks and hotels, President Mubarak decreed a curfew as a military ruler," a state TV announcer said.

Nationwide protests

Police were firing teargas in Mansoura, the witness from the the movement said.

Protesters shouted "Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak" and stamped on posters of the president after Friday prayers, witnesses said.

Vodafone group said all mobile operators in Egypt had been instructed to suspend services in selected areas, in what activists said was an effort to stop anti-Mubarak demonstrators from communicating and organising.

Egypt’s four main Internet service providers (ISPs) cut off international access to their customers in a near simultaneous and unprecedented move, an Internet monitoring company said.

"Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide," said James Cowie of Renesys, a New Hampshire-based firm which monitors Internet routing data in real-time.

"In an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet," Cowie said in a blog post.

"But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world," Cowie said.

"Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air," he said.

Egypt unrest rages

ElBaradei earlier had joined prayers involving about 2,000 people.

"The people want the end of the regime," they started shouting once prayers were complete.

"Leave, leave, Mubarak, Mubarak, the plane awaits you," they chanted in the protests, which were inspired by a revolt in Tunisia.

The Tunisian president of 23 years, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14 after a month of protests.

Nationwide protests

Egyptians have staged mass protests since Tuesday and hundreds have been arrested.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including at least eight senior officials of the opposition group and its main spokesmen, were rounded up overnight. A security source said authorities had ordered a crackdown on the group.

Young protesters want an end to Mubarak’s authoritarian rule that has used heavy-handed security to crush dissenters who complain about unemployment, inflation and corruption which have created a huge gap between rich and poor.

The same complaints about corruption and poverty can be heard across the region and have prompted protests in countries like Algeria and Yemen.

"Inflation has exhausted people. Prices of food, fuel, electricity, sugar are rising … The rich get richer and the poor poorer," said a taxi driver, declining to be named.

"God knows what will happen today. After Tunisia anything is possible."

The Internet via Egyptian servers was blocked across the country shortly after midnight, closing a key tool for activists relying on social media networks.

Mobile phone and text messaging services also appeared to be disabled or working sporadically.

Facebook has been the main vehicle for announcing Friday’s protest and identifying locations for demonstrations.

The government has accused the Muslim Brotherhood of planning to exploit the youth protests for its "hidden agendas". The Brotherhood says it is being used as a scapegoat.