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Massive Demonstrations in Egypt after Friday Prayers

Egypt is facing massive riots, and has shut down phone and Internet service. El Baradei is under siege in a mosque.
By Maayana Miskin and Rachel Sylvetsky
First Publish: 1/28/2011, 12:55 PM / Last Update: 1/28/2011, 1:02 PM

As INN stops posting over the Sabbath in Israel, Egypt is witnessing major riots, with demonstrations throughout the country after Friday morning prayers.

At least three people were killed this week in the largest demonstrations in Egypt in 25 years.

At present, leading opposition member and main contender for Mubarak's p[lace,, Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt to put his weight behind the protests, is reportedly under siege with his followers inside a mosque which is surrounded by police

The major protests follow the recent successful revolt in Tunisia. Lebanon's Nasrallah encouraged the demonstrators to take over, but resentment of Mubarak's plans to have his son take his place and the economic situation in Egypt are dominant factors. Demonstrators are calling on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down from power and allow open and fair elections.

The country's four primary Internet providers all cut service shortly after midnight. Mobile phone signals were disrupted as well, in an apparent attempt by authorities to make it more difficult for protesters to organize or to get footage of the demonstrations out of the country.

Organizers have switched to contacting friends abroad on landlines. Footage and reports from protests earlier in the week were online almost instantly as demonstrators updated their pages on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook while riots were ongoing.

Muslim Brotherhood Joins the Fray
The government crackdown is responding to the Muslim Brotherhood's announcement on Thursday that it will join Friday's demonstration. The Brotherhood is Egypt's largest opposition group, and its participation gives the counter-government rallies new strength.

One Brotherhood leader told reporters on Thursday, “Tomorrow is going to be the day of the intifada.” He predicted that many of the Brotherhood's younger members, some as young as 15, would take part in Friday's demonstrations.


Overthrow Planned in Detail
According to a report in the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, Mubarak has reason for concern, as those organizing the demonstrations have planned his overthrow in detail. Documents spelling out how to revolt against the administration reportedly include satellite images of strategic sites and major intersections.

The documents, given to activist leaders, also include instructions on how to seize Mubarak's presidential palace, television and radio stations, and the seats of local government throughout the country, according to the report.