Even as the Egyptian government curtailed telecommunications,
fresh protests have erupted in cities across Egypt following
Friday midday prayers, with angry demonstrators demanding an end
to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency.
Tens of thousands of protesters have
taken to the streets across the country, witnesses have said.
Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from the Mediterranean port
city of Alexandria, said protesters streamed out of mosques
shortly after prayers to chant slogans against Mubarak. Police
responded immediately, firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Alexandria is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's
technically banned but largest political opposition group, but
Rageh said the crowds in the city predominantly consisted of
"This is the same mosque where protests were held against police
brutality in June after a 20-year-old man was beaten to death by
police," she said. "It’s very symbolic that the current protests
are taking place at the same place all over again."
Protests were also reported in Suez, a port on the Red Sea east of
Cairo, and in the Nile Delta cities of Mansoura and Sharqiya,
Clashes between protesters and police erupted outside a mosque in
Cairo. Protesters reportedly threw stones and dirt at the police
after security forces confronted them. They held up posters saying
"No to dictatorship" and stamped on posters of Mubarak.
Friday marked the fourth consecutive day of protests in the Middle
East's most populous nation coming on the heels of a social
uprising in nearby Tunisia that ousted that country's president of
The countrywide violence has so far left seven people dead.
Meanwhile, telecommunications in
Egypt were curtailed Friday in the wake of major anti-government
protest, with internet sites blocked and Egyptians unable to send
text messages from their mobile phones.
Outsiders experienced difficulties connecting to landline numbers
in Cairo, where hundreds of thousands of people were expected to
take part in a demonstration after the traditional Friday prayers.
Only some anti-government websites with servers located abroad
were working, but their operators had difficulties updating them.
"Our journalists cannot update the content of our website because
we do not have any links to the internet any more," an employee at
the website youm7 said.
Activists have been using social networking sites and twitter to
organise the protests.
But those services were blocked overnight. The websites of the
Egyptian government and the US embassy in Cairo could not be
Egypt's protesters hope to emulate the Tunisian uprising that
toppled president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali Jan 14, after nearly 23
years in power.
Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, who arrived in Cairo
Thursday, has urged both security forces and protesters not to
resort to violence.
ElBaradei has indicated he would help head a transitional
government should Mubarak step down.