Monday, January 31, 2011

Internet cut as Egypt braces for 'march of millions'

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's government has posted troops at key locations and cut internet service as anti-government protesters planned a "march of millions" Tuesday.
Activists pledged to hold major demonstrations in cities throughout the country -- a week after rallies began calling for President Hosni Mubarak's resignation.
But Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years under a sweeping emergency decree, has given no indication that he plans to give up power.
His government planned to shut down mobile phone networks, closed banks and schools and continued a curfew in preparation for Tuesday's protests.
Protesters have defied previous curfew orders. And late Monday night, Google announced a new technology option that could help Egyptians get around restrictions on mobile phone and internet service.
The new "speak-to-tweet" service allows people without an internet connection to leave a voice-mail message, which will automatically be turned into a tweet, according to a description on Google's blog.
The political turmoil has paralyzed commerce and disrupted daily life in Egypt.
State television reported Monday that the crisis has cost the country an estimated 69 billion Egyptian pounds (nearly $12 billion) and set its economy back six months.
ATM screens went dark. Gas stations ran out of fuel. Long lines snaked around bakeries and supermarkets as shops began to ration how much food customers could buy. Men with makeshift weapons guarded neighborhoods, creating checkpoints to fill the void left when police stopped patrolling the streets.

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