Egypt shuts down the Internet, some phone service as protests enter fourth day
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The Internet is off in Egypt.
It’s the latest step in cutting off digital communications in the country which is experiencing its fourth day of massive protests agianst the government.
On Tuesday, during the first day of the country’s protests for political reform, Twitter was blocked, and later Facebook.
On Thursday, BlackBerry Web access was shut down.
Some phone services have been shut down too -- though some land lines and satellite phones are still working.
Mubarak has also imposed a curfew in the country and sent police and the military into the streets to prevent tens of thousands of Egyptians from continuing their protests.
The demonstrations are growing each day, reports say, with protesters calling for the removal of Mubarak from the presidency -- an office he has held for more than 30 years -- and increased political freedoms.
Despite efforts by the Egyptian government to remove social media and the Web as tools for organizing and sharing information among protesters, many have found ways around such roadblocks and are seemingly encouraged -- particularly young people.
The protests in Egypt have been inspired in part by the uprising in Tunisia that led to the overthrow of the government there. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media and Web services were also instrumental in mobilizing people in Tunisia.
[Updated 11:30 a.m.: Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes sent along an e-mailed statement to the Technology blog, saying, ‘We saw a drop in Egyptian traffic on Thursday and are now seeing only minimal traffic from Egypt.’
Noyes added: ‘The Internet provides people around the world with the power to connect, to learn, and to share. A world without the Internet is unimaginable.
‘Although the turmoil in Egypt is a matter for the Egyptian people and their government to resolve, limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community. It is essential to communication and to commerce. No one should be denied access to the Internet.’]
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Upper photo: Egyptian anti-government activists clash with riot police in Cairo on Friday.
Lower photo: One protester is injured. Credit: Ben Curtis / Associated Press