2011-01-26 Week of "rage" in Egypt sees casualties, global support [UPDATE 1]

As we reported on Tuesday, Egyptians and other activists working remotely planned to begin protesting on Tuesday January 25. From the start,

[t]here has been a significant amount of support and planning for the protest online, causing the government and police to promise an equally strong suppression. Over 85,000 people have liked the Facebook page for the protest day, calling for a day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment.

The turnout may have surprised even Egyptian authorities, however, and support is coming in many forms. This Facebook page called for video production and quickly received a link to this piece. Many videos are surfacing on Youtube and elsewhere (see the this collection, for instance).

Anonymous has joined in the protests, recruiting activists and delivering their now well-known wrath in the form of DDoS attacks on Egyptian websites:

Analysis from NetCraft shows server failure for Egypt's Ministry of the Interior (MOI) website, and other reports indicate that the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology may also have been targeted.

Attacks from Anonymous were direct results of Egyptian censorship. As of yesterday, access to Twitter has been blocked, while Youtube remains accessible. Vodafone Egypt was quoted as having denied allegations of censorship yesterday, stating: "We didn't block twitter - it's a problem all over Egypt and we are waiting for a solution." Yet Twitter confirmed "Tuesday that Egypt was indeed blocking access to their service. Access to the US-based social network Facebook was also reportedly cut off by early Tuesday."

Various sources have independently reported that Mobinil is also blocking access to Facebook and Twitter, and that residents are being arrested "just for leaving the house." The modus operandi has supposedly become that of "arresting first and asking questions later." There is a general fear of speaking out and being penalized, and apparently, individuals are even being "hunted down" in their own homes.

The BBC reports that approximately "700 people have been arrested throughout Egypt in a crackdown against anti-government protests." Water cannons are being used to silence the protesters, but in many cases, to no avail, as this video shows. Tear gas has also been used, along with guns shooting rubber bullets.

At least 6 people have been killed so far, and many others injured.

Updates will follow as protests persist throughout the night. Thursday promises to be an important day, given mounting tensions and the arrival of reform campaigner el-Baradei, as does Friday, when it is expected that even larger numbers will be gathering after prayer, which ends at 1pm.

Update 1:
The Associated Press reports that Associated Press Television News cameraman, Haridi Hussein Haridi, 54, and his assistant, Haitham Badry, 23, were arrested Wednesday. In addition, an "AP photographer was beaten by a policeman and injured while shooting demonstrations."

Post Nationalism?


What I think we're seeing in the unrest in Egypt and Yemen is a kind of 'post nationalism'. The average Egyptian and Yemeni person has suddenly seen that they have more in common with Tunisians then they thought. If there are more popular uprisings and if any succeed there will probably be a lot of outreach between these folks of various nations to compare notes, as it were. The Tunisian police took their time to fold, maybe the Egyptian police will learn from that and join the masses earlier. If that happens, change could spread pretty quickly to other countries in the region. Out of this we may end up seeing a pretty powerful North African Alliance. Not only joining for improved trade but watching out for each other in case tyranny rears it's ugly head again.

Another post national movement is The Pirate Parties that are springing up in many nations. All have basically the same rather simple, unrefined platform directed at personal privacy and security. Maybe they should add some amendments that are more far reaching. Something like "Pirate Parties will negotiate with other nations' Pirate Parties in a completely open forum, every clause, every dotted 'i' and crossed 't' would be public. There's some incentive for vote for them. It goes without saying that Pirate Parties would not, ever go to war... with anyone. Hmmm... Maybe we should write that in... just in case.

Pirate Parties around the world should be doing some serious outreach to the folks of the soon to be North African Alliance. Lots of similarities there.


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