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Egypt: Phones, Web Shut Down, Al Baradei Under House Arrest, Unity Protests Being Held Around the World; Updated

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The regime of Hosni Mubarak has responded to the protests by tens of thousands of protesters by shutting down access to mobile phones and the internet and access to the social networking tools used to coordinate the protests-- twitter and facebook. 

Al Jazeera reports, 

"About a half-hour past midnight on Friday in Egypt, the internet went dead.

Almost simultaneously, the handful of companies that pipe the internet into and out of Egypt went dark as protesters were gearing up for a fresh round of demonstrations calling for the end of president Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule, experts said.

Egypt has apparently done what many technologists thought was unthinkable for any country with a major internet economy: It unplugged itself entirely from the internet to try and silence dissent.

Experts say it is unlikely that what has happened in Egypt could happen in the United States because the US has numerous internet providers and ways of connecting to the internet. Co-ordinating a simultaneous shutdown would be a massive undertaking."

While other countries, like China and Iran have blocked parts of the internet, like specific websites, such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, it appears that the Egyptian leadership shut down all digital communications-- the entire internet and all mobile phones. Satellite phones, which are very costly and in rare use, except by government and corporate people and the wealthy, were still operating. 

Mohamed El Baradei, UN nuclear inspector, is considered to be one possible leader who might replace Mubarak. He returned to Egypt and was "seen among the crowds, and then, prevented from moving, Iloubnan.info reported also citing reports " The Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported on twitter that "Police reportedly refuse to antagonize protesters in Alexandria"

Apparently, taking Egypt "dark" and even killing several protesters has not stopped the young people who are energizing the protests from going out in the streets. 

Throughout the world, unity protests are being held. 

Demonstration in front of the Egyptian Consulat in Frankfurt today. ( Flickr Photo   by 00Joshi)

Updates:
El Baradei has been released and has since participated in a march.

Mubarak has ordered curfews from 6 PM until 7 AM, until further notice, for major urban areas. 

Al Jazeera reports that "the country wide violence has left seven dead so far.'

While the demonstrations are going strong and the outcry for Mubarak to leave is great, it is no certainty he will go. Al Jazeera reports, "
It is far from a foregone conclusion that the protesters will force Mubarak out. They face two key challenges, said Amon Aran, a Middle East expert at London's City University, told Reuters news agency.

"One is the Egyptian security apparatus, which over the years has developed a vested interest in the survival of President Mubarak's regime. This elaborate apparatus has demonstrated over the past few days that it is determined to crush political dissent," he said.

"Another obstacle derives from the fact that, so far, the protesters do not seem to form a coherent political opposition.


The popular outcry is loud and clear, but whether it can translate into a political force is questionable."
Authorities in Egypt should not seek to "suppress people's right to freedom of expression", British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Fox News reports that wikileaks cables show that under Obama the US has softened the pressure on Mubarak to move towards giving more human rights. 

Besides Mubarak's power base, the main group with consolidated, organized power in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood, also called Gamat Islamiya. This is a fundamentalist group that would probably call for Koranic Sharia Law, like Iranian mullahs have. Gamat Islamiya has been known to torture, stab and rape Coptic Christian Egyptians because they are not Muslim.


 

Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

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Rob, luckily the 'powers that be' here in the US ... by Alan MacDonald on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 10:57:39 AM
Even if we had a serious youth movement the main r... by Allen Oliver on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 12:13:11 PM
as in all revolutionary movements, the TV stations... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 9:46:22 AM
is the current Administration not requesting the r... by Archie on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:45:07 PM
Pipelines leading out of the ME oil fields must fl... by morris wise on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 12:22:44 PM
You got that right Mr. Wise, aside from the fact t... by Donald on Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 8:43:43 AM
In 1956, M. King Hubbert presented a paper on Peak... by Edward Ulysses Cate on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 1:34:31 PM
Apparently the Egyptian rebellion is being attribu... by boomerang on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 1:36:37 PM
Things are moving fast in Egypt as the response t... by Alejandra Duran on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 3:05:01 PM
This event is entirely possible in the US. I don't... by Nancy S on Friday, Jan 28, 2011 at 3:33:42 PM
What would you have him do? How much stronger shou... by Lynne Kringler on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 3:32:36 PM
I certainly would hope that Obama would impress up... by Nancy S on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 9:18:18 PM
I would rather that we rationally evolve toward a ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 4:33:17 PM
is to offer to arrange elections for a transitiona... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 9:17:08 AM
That Egypt has few, if any, good options Iranian s... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 4:35:20 PM
that there is a great risk inherent in acquiesing ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 at 5:35:09 PM