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The Egyptian government has banned further protests against the long rule of President Mubarak and shut off access to Twitter after a day of violent protests left three people dead.

Protests, and reaction to them, left two protesters and one policeman dead. The government today banned any more demonstrations and said protesters would be arrested and charged.

Twitter said, at about midnight UK time: "We can confirm that Twitter was blocked in Egypt around 8am PT today. It is impacting both Twitter.com & applications."

Refreshingly, flacks for the micro-blog declined to exploit the use, or not, of its service in Egypt. It said: "We believe that the open exchange of info & views benefits societies & helps govts better connect w/ their people."

Twitter declined to comment further apart from clarifying: "We mean that we prefer users in Egypt (or elsewhere) to speak for how Twitter is being used (or not) instead of us."

Protests in Cairo and across the country were inspired by recent events in Tunisia. ®

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