Egypt: Sequence of Communication Shutdown during 2011 Uprising

25 January 2011 was the day when people of Egypt went to the streets in several proveniences to demonstrate against President Mubarak and the current regime.

Online platforms and social websites were highly utilized by activists to mobilize youth and spread the word before January 25. On the first of day of demonstrations, the government started to crackdown on communication and online platforms to limit the flow of information on what is happening and despite that crackdown, people of Egypt were still able to deliver videos, pictures and thoughts from the demonstrations all over Egypt and it didn’t affect mobilizing people to join peaceful assemblies.

Among many different tactics activists used to spread the multimedia is building tents in Tahrir Square (Downtown, Cairo) and hanging a sign “Gathering Picture and Videos” to compile footage and pictures from demonstrators and uploading them online.

Here is the sequence of communication shutdown by the government starting 25 January (approximate figures):

1. Tuesday 25 January 2011 – 01:30pm: some mobile lines shutdown, and blocked in Egypt.

2. Tuesday 25 January 2011 – 08:0pm: network coverage in Tahrir Square shutdown.

3. Wednesday 26 January 2011: & accessible (10:30pm) , blocked, some mobile lines re-activated.

4. Thursday 27 January 2011 – 09:40pm: short message service (SMS) & Internet connection shutdown (except one Internet service provider where the government moved on it stock exchange and financial process).

5. Friday 28 January 2011: landlines shutdown in some areas in Cairo, satellite Internet connection interrupted and mobile phone calls re-activated.

6. Monday 31 January 2011 – 11:30pm: the last Internet service provider in Egypt shutdown.

7. Wednesday 2 February – 2011, 12:30pm: Internet connection re-activated.

8. Sunday 6 February – 12:35 am: short message service re-activated.

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