At 12.30am Egyptian time on January 28, the plug was pulled in Egypt on all internet traffic for all major internet providers. Egypt is almost entirely offline. The move was made to stop people organising protests through social media sites like twitter and Facebook. See Live updates below...
Major protests involving tens of thousands of people started on January 25 and have continued on a daily basis in cities around the country. The peaceful protests have met with a violent response from police and security forces using armoured vehicles, water cannon, tear gas, mass arrests, rubber bullets, live rounds and beatings.
The protest organisers have urged people to come out in force on Friday, stressing that the religion of protesters is not relevant.
The protests are calling for an end to Hosni Mubarack's 30 year rule, the departure of the interior minister, an end to the restrictive emergency law, and a rise in the minimum wage. These are the largest protests in Egypt for decades and activists have drawn inspiration from the Tunisian uprising
James Cowie writing on the renesys blog said:
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. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. 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. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.
Mobile and SMS services are also affected to varying degrees. Activists outside Egypt are setting up alternate channels using existing phone lines and ham radio to relay information to the world.
This is the first time a whole country has cut the connections to the internet in such a wholesale manner. For up to date information follow #egypt and #jan25 on www.twitter.com.
To protest the actions of the Mubarack regime in Australia contact the embassy and consulates below:
1 Darwin Avenue
Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: (062) 273-4437/8
Egyptian Consulate — Melbourne
50 Market St, Level 6
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Tel: (03) 9614 1888
Egyptian Consulate — Sydney
335 New South Head Road
Double Bay, Sydney NSW 2028
Tel: (02) 362-3482/8, 327-5538