Awaiting The "Friday Of Anger"

Screen shot 2011-01-27 at 8.05.16 PM

by Chris Bodenner

An Egyptian reader writes:

Today is when Muslims gather at noon for Friday's prayer. It's being called "Friday of Anger", where people are planned to take the momentum of their gathering for prayer to the street to join protesters. Muslims are calling for Christians to join prayer and take to the street. The protests have shown solidarity between Muslims and Christians, especially after the New Year bombing in Alexandria. One common chant among protesters is, "Hey Muhammed (common Muslim name) say to Bulis (common Christian name), Tomorrow Egypt will be like Tunis (Tunisia)".

Twitter and Facebook are now reported to be blocked again after they were accessible yesterday morning.  I'm getting confirmation from a lot of people and just saw on AlJazeera that all Internet connections is down in Cairo and other areas in Egypt. It seems like testing it because it's on and off and in different times in different areas. Also, I got confirmation from many people on Twitter that SMS service is down too. It seems like the government is preparing to crack down hard on today's protests, which are expected to huge.

At the end of the first day, two were killed and were buried in silence. When a 3rd was killed, and his family tried to get his body from the morgue, the police refused to deliver the body in fear of his funeral turning into a big protest. The number of people outside the morgue began increasing and turned more violent as the security forces began clashing with them. Wednesday night, the protests burned Al-Arbeen police station which is the closest to the morgue.  (Here and here is footage of people gathering around the morgue, and here is the burning of the police station.)

Now, ElBaradi, the Nobel laureate and pro-democracy figure, has came back to Egypt. He'll be attending the Friday prayer in Giza (west of Cairo and part of Greater Cairo) and will be participating in the protests afterward. But people are calling on him to go to Suez and attend the prayer there to end the security forces violence in the city. (For example, this tweet is translated, "Let's focus the call to ElBaradi to go to Suez and he'll go... and Suez will the major tipping point")

On the media front, Mahmoud Saad (a famous talk show host and journalist) refused to go on the air for the talk show that he co-host on the State TV protesting the state TV coverage. He is said to be on "Open Vacation". He denied the rumor of his resignation and said that he's on contract with the state TV so he can't resign or be fired.

Mona ElShazly (the famous host of "El-Ashera Massaen" (The 10 PM) talk show on the privately owned TV channel "DreamTV") opened her show with a long talk about press freedom where she raised questions about the coverage of the state TV and the government media outlets. She said that she doesn't know if this will be the last show this week or just the last show. During the interview later in the show, one of her guests, for the first ever on TV in Egypt (as far as I can remember), someone was calling on the Egyptian president to not nominate himself again. Another called on him to name a VP.

(The above photo by Nora Shalaby is labeled, "Mubarak hung from a pole")