At the Crossroads of Media, Culture and Technology

Social Media Fuels Egypt’s Largest Protest in Years

Protests in Egypt exploded into violence yesterday as people took to the streets to denounce poor living conditions and the thirty-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak.

Thousands of Egyptians protesting in Cairo

According to Al Jazeera, Egyptians began organizing protests through Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday morning. In an attempt to quell the unrest, the Egyptian government blocked Twitter around 6pm Tuesday night, but by then protests had begun in several Egyptian cities, including Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria, among others. A Facebook group garnered 80,000 members pledging to protest on January 25.

An Egyptian man stands against a large police force

Protests turned violent after sunset Tuesday night as police used tear gas and powerful jets of water to contain the crowd, and the crowd threw rocks at police. Police chased an estimated 15,000 people off the Cairo streets around 1am Tuesday night. Dozens of alternative news sites have popped up in response to the Egyptian government’s blocking of Facebook and Twitter. According to some news outlets, Twitter was unblocked today around 8pm Egyptian time, and unblocked Tweets are becoming available to the world.

At this point, four people are confirmed dead, hundreds are locked up in jail cells, fires are burning throughout the city of Cairo, and despite government warnings of severe repercussions, the protests continue.

The Economist ranks Egypt 138th out of 167 countries in their annual Democracy Index, and between 20%-30% of its people live below the poverty line. In an interview for Democracy Now, Egyptian independent journalist and blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy called out the influence of Egypt’s “Tunisian brothers,” for without their courage and social documentation Egypt may never have organized the protests. Furthermore, “Hacktivists,” or hackers devoted to social activism, have called for “cyber attacks” on websites run by the Egyptian government. For more information on that story, visit http://bit.ly/fQjwKJ.

An Egyptian protester jumps at heavily armed police

Follow the hashtags #Jan25 and #Egypt on Twitter for breaking news on the protests via Twitter.

For more information on the Egyptian uprisings, Al Jazeera English (http://bit.ly/ekJYJV), Democracy Now (http://bit.ly/gq8xDI), and the BBC news (http://bbc.in/eJeJC4) are all providing good, up-to-date coverage and blog posts.

Flip the Media will continue reporting on the Egyptian protests as more information becomes available.

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This post is categorized in: Events, Social Media

About Elizabeth Hunter

I love to write about things that make people say WHUT! And I can officially break news, scour the Twitter/Internet, and put out some coherent information in less than a day. Ask me, dudes.

6 Responses to Social Media Fuels Egypt’s Largest Protest in Years

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Social Media Fuels Egypt’s Largest Protest in Years -- Topsy.com

  2. Jonathan C says:

    There is something magical about the way in which people are using social media in Egypt to fuel a social revolution. In theory, since so many of us are glued to our computers, the internet is the new town hall! It’s the new soapbox in which people should rally for change.

    No wonder Egypt has shut off internet usage throughout the entire country. But even that isn’t working, because the rest of us with internet access globally can see how defeated their government really is right now.
    Technology, in the hands of the people, is powerful.
    That doesn’t mean we give all of the victory to technology though.
    The protesters in Egypt are winning, because the leaders in Egypt neglected them. Frustration is the fuel. Social media is just the conduit. This cannot be understated.

  3. Pingback: Mr. Mubarak, turn on this internet! « Ronin's Randoms

  4. Pingback: Egypt’s protests owe little to social media | 21st-century PR issues › Paul Seaman's online review

  5. David says:

    Remember New Orleans after the hurricane? Most of the police did not show up for duty and the majority of those that did were afraid to venture out after nightfall because of the crime. It was up to the citizens to defend themselves. We see the same thing happening in Egypt. The 9/11 commission reported that it was not a matter of if — but when terrorists will attack the United States with a nuclear weapon. What do you think that will be like? Think you will need to be armed to protect your family? The NRA just reported that Obama is preparing to push gun control. For those that want privately owned firearms taken up by government – go ahead go unarmed – just don’t come looking for protection when society reverts to the law of jungle. Just keep thinking it will not happen to you and anyway if it does the government will protect you — lolololol.
    If you are Canadian, English, Australian, Mexican, etc. then you have already given up your natural rights to self defense. You are really in sad shape.

  6. Pingback: Egypt’s protests owe little to social media « ngwe3falcon

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