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Egypt switches off the internet

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The Egyptian government is restricting internet access and mobile phone coverage ahead of what are expected to be the week's largest demonstrations later today.

As this blogpost from Renesys notes the website for the Egyptian Stock Exchange might be available, but little else is. European-Asian fibre-optics appear unaffected but: "Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air."

Renesys said it watched the plug being pulled at 12.34am Egyptian time leaving almost all Egyptian websites isolated. Even Egyptian government sites are unavailable at the time of writing.

Mobile phone networks have also been interfered with and opposition politicians and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested, according to reports.

After a week of protests against Hosni Mubarak, which have left seven people dead, the government is facing its hardest test today. Big protests are expected across the country after Friday prayers - still the most important social network in the country.

Egypt has a population of 80.4 million, it has 10.3 million landlines, 55.3 million mobile phones and 20.1 million internet users, according to figures from the CIA World Fact Book. ®

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