Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt: Latest Updates


Things are happening very fast in Egypt, and also Jordan, it seems. Follow developments instantly on the Guardian's live blog -

Protests in Egypt - live updates

• Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested after march pledge
• Mohamed ElBaradei plans to join today's march
• Authorities restrict internet access as part of crackdown

A teacher, told [us] that "hunger and poverty" had bought protesters out on to the streets. "We are not looking for an Islamic revolution" he said, "we want a citizen's government."


Egyptian government on last legs, says ElBaradei

Exclusive: Mohamed ElBaradei says he is sending a message 'to the Guardian and to the world'

The Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei warned President Hosni Mubarak today that his regime is on its last legs, as tens of thousands of people prepared to take to the streets for a fourth day of anti-government protests.

The Nobel peace prize winner's comments to the Guardian represented his strongest intervention against the country's authoritarian government since he announced his intention to return to Egypt to join the protests. "I'm sending a message to the Guardian and to the world that Egypt is being isolated by a regime on its last legs," he said.

His words marked an escalation of the language he used on arrival in Cairo last night, when he merely urged the Mubarak government to "listen to the people" and not to use violence.

In an apparent bid to scupper the protests, the Egyptian authorities have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country. ElBaradei said the move was proof the government was in "a state of panic".

"Egypt today is in a pre-information age," he said. "The Egyptians are in solitary confinement – that's how unstable and uncomfortable the regime is. Being able to communicate is the first of our human rights and it's being taken away from us. I haven't seen this in any other country before."


Egypt cuts off internet access

Most of the major internet service providers in Egypt are offline following week-long protests

Egypt appears to have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country from late on Thursday night, in a move that has concerned observers of the protests that have been building in strength through the week.

"According to our analysis, 88% of the 'Egyptian internet' has fallen off the internet," said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks.

"What's different in this case as compared to other 'similar' cases is that all of the major ISP's seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks."


Protests signal the end of Egypt's 'Pharaoh complex'

Questioning the authority of President Mubarak – once portrayed as a faultless deity – was for a long time unthinkable

by Riham Ibrahim

The Egyptian people's demonstrations have not only broken the barrier of silence but have also driven the first nail into the coffin of the "Pharaoh complex" deeply rooted within the Egyptian psyche.

We Egyptians have always seen our ruler as a faultless deity – or as the late President Anwar al-Sadat described himself, a Pharaoh. We have long thought it was inevitable that Hosni Mubarak would rule for life. At school, we had to write essays about the achievements of our beloved president and how his was an era of prolific development. It was a recurring question in Arabic composition. There was always only one right answer: there could be no one better than him to be in power and shoulder the responsibility.

For the first time, we see protesters demanding that Mubarak not run for the presidency again. The more daring are demanding that he step down and leave the country right now. Over the past three decades, no one has dared to make these demands. We could never have imagined protests like these.

Young Egyptians have decided that the time for change has arrived. And for that change to be complete it has to be extended to the head of state. So, when they cheer against the president they are doing so out of a great conviction. The time is up for the traditional Egyptian way of thinking. The Pharaoh complex is no more.


Egypt protests: 'Something has changed in the Egyptian psyche '

The demonstrations this week against the Mubarak regime have gripped Egypt – while the world has looked on. We asked local bloggers and photographers for their frontline reports


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