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All Eyes on Egypt

Amid accelerating anti-government protests in Egypt, described as the largest uprising there in three decades, The Associated Press reported Thursday that scores of demonstrators massed outside the downtown Cairo offices of the country's lawyers' union, considered one of the flashpoints of unrest. Elsewhere, The AP reported that lawyers conducted two small peaceful protests in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta town of Toukh, north of Cairo.

According to The Washington Post, the protesters have so far been largely middle class: students, professors, lawyers and doctors. One man who spoke to the newspaper said that he went to law school only to learn he'd have to make endless payments to clerks just to have his cases heard.

Meanwhile, Wired has put together a cross-section of online resources, including Twitter hashtags and RSS feeds, for people who want to keep up with information about protests in Egypt and the Middle East. Among the resources: The New York Times' The Lede blog, which features an audio interview with Egyptian blogger Gigi Ibrahim, who spoke via Skype from a Cairo Internet cafe Thursday evening.

Reuters and other news outlets report that Internet access was shut down in Egypt shortly after midnight local time in anticipation of large demonstrations on Friday. PC World says that, although some countries routinely block access to specific websites, Egypt's action marks the first time a country has voluntarily severed its own Internet connection. (Noor Data Networks, the provider used by the Egyptian Stock Exchange, is reportedly unaffected by the outage.)

Previously, at least 80,000 people confirmed on a Facebook page that they would show up for the Friday protests. However, MSNBC reports that Egypt's elite special operations counterterrorism force, which is reportedly seen on the streets only rarely, took up positions early Friday in strategic locations in Cairo, including central Tahrir Square, the site of previous days' largest demonstrations.

Additional online resources for information on protests in Egypt include the Global Voices community of bloggers and live updates from The Guardian.

Written by managing editor Paula Martersteck.

Posted by Product Team on January 28, 2011 at 03:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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