Powered by WebAds

Friday, January 28, 2011

ElBaradei arrested in Egypt?

A few updates from Egypt - where all hell has apparently broken loose - before the Sabbath starts.

First, former IAEA chief and putative Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei arrived back in Egypt on Thursday. According to various reports he is either participating in demonstrations (and has been water cannoned), has his movements restricted so he cannot participate in the demonstrations, or has been placed under arrest.

Second, the Egyptian government has cut off the internet and cell phone service, although somehow there are still tweets from Egypt coming through on Twitter. Here is a graph of the internet cutoff in Egypt on Thursday:

Note the precipitous drop in traffic around 5:20 pm.

Here's a statement from Vodaphone on cell phone services in Egypt.
All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course .
Third, unsurprisingly, all hell broke loose after Friday prayers.
Thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters clashed Friday with police in Cairo, who fired rubber bullets into the crowds and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year-rule.

Police also used water cannons against Egypt's pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei and his supporters as they joined the latest wave of protests after noon prayers. Police also used batons to beat some of ElBaradei's supporters, who surrounded him to protect him.

A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque nearly an hour after him and his supporters were water cannoned. Hundreds of riot police laid siege to the mosque, firing tear gas in the streets surrounding it so no one could leave. The tear gas canisters set several cars ablaze outside the mosque. Several people fainted and suffered burns.

Large groups of protesters, in the thousands, were gathered at at least six venues in Cairo, a city of about 18 million people. They are demanding Mubarak's ouster.

There were smaller protests in Assiut south of Cairo and al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula. Regional television stations were reporting clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and Minya south of Cairo.

At the upscale Mohandiseen district, at least 10,000 of people were marching toward the city center chanting "down, down with Mubarak." The crowd later swelled to about 20,000 as they made their way through residential areas. Residents looking on from apartment block windows waved at them and whistled in support. Others waved the red, white and black Egyptian flags.

At Ramsis square in the heart of the city, thousands of protesters clashed with police as they left the al-Nur mosque after prayers. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and some of the tear gas was fired inside the mosque where women were taking refuge.

Clusters of riot police with helmets and shields were stationed around the city, at the entrances to bridges across the Nile and other key intersections.

Near the city's main Tahrir Square downtown, hundreds of riot police clustered together and moved in, anticipating the arrival of a large crowd of protesters. A short while later, thousands of protesters marched across a bridge over the Nile and moved toward the square, where police began firing tear gas into the crowds.
Prominent Egyptian democracy activist Ayman Nour has been struck in the head by a rock and hospitalized in a semi-conscious state.

Israel Radio reports that at least one person has been killed and tens have been wounded.

Egypt is holding reporters at the airport in Cairo and not letting them into the country.

Finally, this quip from Twitter bears passing on:
Kim Jong-il is telling his son tonight, "See why it's good to have no Internet to cut off in the first place?"

Labels: , , , ,


At 9:50 PM, Blogger biorabbi said...

Why is Israel the world's only country worth of Boycott and Disinvestment? Seems to me that maybe the worlds chronic Israel bashers should start focusing on the real bruta regimes in the arab world! Start with Egypt and then move on to Saudi Arabia. Plenty of work for the 'do gooders' who find the world's only source of evil under the sun in Israel.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger biorabbi said...

I'm usually jaundiced enough in my opinions, but I think Egypt is doomed. Yes, there are a lot of young idealistic kids out there protesting, who probably have nothing against Israel per se, but they don't have the institutions to replace a government. The Muslim Brotherhood does. Look at Hamas or Hizbullah. They may be evil, but their smart. The fund the charity, provide a kind of alternative structure for government.

I think the Muslim Brotherhood has the capacity to do the same in Egypt. This is why I hope Mubarak can hold on. Look, if the students in Iran and in Cairo could take charge, I would love it, but the radical Islamists are the ones who will gain in all this chaos.

At 2:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

In Egypt, the crowds hate Israel even more than the regime... one thing is safe to predict - Israel is going to have to plan for a future with a hostile Egypt with a powerful well-trained and equipped army that has the latest American weapons. Israel is going to have to plan for the worst case, not the best case scenario, since unfortunately, things in the Middle East always do turn out in the end for the worst.


Post a Comment

<< Home