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Egypt: Internet 'restored nationwide' after blackout as Mubarak clings onto power

ultimo aggiornamento: 02 febbraio, ore 13:23
Egyptians regained access to the internet on Wednesday after a five-day blackout following massive anti-government protests, Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Arabiya reported.

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Cairo, 2 Feb. (AKI) - Egyptians regained access to the internet on Wednesday after a five-day blackout following massive anti-government protests, Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Arabiya reported. Users were able to access the popular social networking site Facebook and the website of the anti-government '6 April' movement' . The move came as state television also reported an easing of a nationwide curfew - with restricted hours from 1700-0700.

Late on Tuesday, Egypt's embattled president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981, announced he would not stand for re-election in September.

The mass protests in the capital, Cairo, and in other Egyptian cities over the past week have left around 300 dead according to United Nations estimates.

The micro-blogging site Twitter announced on Tuesday it was offerering a service to enable Egyptians to send voice message 'tweets' out of the country by calling a phone number and leaving a voice message, which would then be translated and tweeted with the #egypt tag.

Up to 2,000 demonstrators spent the night in low temperatures in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protests. They rejected 82-year-old Mubarak's pledge as in insufficient.

Up to two million people were reported to have attended street protests in central Cairo on Tuesday. Protesters set the state TV building alight and torched the offices of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic party in recent days.

The anti-government protestors blame Mubarak for widespread poverty, corruption, high unemployment, a lack of true democracy and police brutality and want to see him deposed and punished. They have vowed to continue their protests and march on the presidential palace unless Mubarak steps down.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, formerly head of the UN's atomic watchdog and a Nobel peace laureate dismissed Mubarak's move as "a trick" to stay in power.

Although Mubarak has replaced the government, this has not appeased the demonstrators who claim he has merely appointed other government figures.

Abdelhalim Kandil, leader of Egypt's Kifaya (Enough) opposition movement, said Mubarak's offer not to serve a sixth term was not enough.

The leader of the secular, liberal al-Ghad (Tomorrow) opposition party Ayman Nur has urged Mubarak to hand over power to vice-president Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egypt's intelligence services who has brokered talks between the Islamist Hamas and the more secular Palestinian Fatah group.

"We accept Suleiman's mediation at this stage, but Mubarak must divest himself of power," he was cited as saying by satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera.

Nur said meetings were taking place on Wednesday between Egypt's opposition forces to hammer out an official joint position on Mubarak's refusal to step down immediately.

In a statement after Mubarak's address, United States president Barack Obama said the US would be happy to offer assistance to Egypt during the transition process.

Former British prime minister and Middle East peace process envoy Tony Blair has also called for a process of "managed political change" amid fears that radical Islamists could gain power in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

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