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.
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.
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.
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.