About 700 people have been arrested throughout Egypt in a crackdown against anti-government protests, security officials say.

The arrests came as police clashed with protesters in two cities following Tuesday’s unprecedented protests. One protester and one policeman were killed as police broke up rallies in Cairo, and in Suez a government building was reportedly set on fire.

Public gatherings would no longer be tolerated, the interior ministry said. Anyone taking to the streets against the government would be prosecuted, it added.

Protesters have been inspired by the recent uprising in Tunisia, vowing to stay on the streets until the government falls. They have been using social networking sites to call for fresh demonstrations, but both Facebook and microblogging site Twitter appear to have been periodically blocked inside Egypt. The government denied it was blocking the sites.


April 6 members make extensive use of Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to organise pro-democracy events.  This youth opposition coalition was the main organising force behind Tuesday’s demonstrations.  It started the call for the “day of anger” on Tuesday 25 January, citing a list of demands on its website. They included the departure of the interior minister, an end to the restrictive emergency law, and a rise in the minimum wage.

The movement is urging Egyptians to “take to the streets and keep going until the demands of the Egyptian people have been met”.

The movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group in 2008 to support workers in the northern industrial town of Mahalla al-Kubra and called for a national strike on 6 April that year. Members, who include many young well-educated Egyptians, have shown a greater willingness than others to risk arrest and start public protests. They have successfully organised pro-democracy rallies and a large welcoming party for the former United Nations’ nuclear watchdog chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, when he returned to his home country in February 2010. The group uses Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to alert its networks about police activity, organise legal protection and publicise its efforts.

2. SPEAKING: TO THE STREETS: What would make you protest? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the ones you feel strongest about at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • lack of democracy
  • corrupt leaders
  • country going to war
  • lack of religious freedom
  • rising food prices
  • unemployment
  • racism
  • rising taxes



3. LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians _________________________ protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Al Jazeera news said the unrest _________________________-democracy demonstrations in Egyptian history. Riot police are out in force and fighting protestors with _________________________ gas. One young woman is reported to have been killed after being struck on the head by a tear-gas canister. In Suez, demonstrators took over the main police station _________________________ in the past 48 hours. The police have lost control of the city. Forty thousand people in Mansoura, north of Cairo, are reported to have raided and destroyed the ruling party’s headquarters. ___________________________ all over the country.

Egypt’s leaders have _________________________ people communicating with each other. At midnight, Thursday, the government shut down Egypt’s Internet. Authorities _________________________ Arab and non-Arab journalists at Egypt’s international airport and the police are also trying to stop journalists _________________________. They smashed CNN cameras and shut down Al Jazeera’s television broadcasts in Egypt of the protests. Opposition leader Mohamed El-Baradei is trapped in a mosque _________________________. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Egypt’s _________________________ their people. Egyptians are calling for regime _________________________ banners that say, “We hate you Mubarak”.

4. PAIR –WORK. Work in pairs .Ask and answer questions-

a) What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘Egypt’?
b) What do you think of the protests in Egypt?
c) Where do you think the protests will go?
d) Do you think the protests are for democracy?
e) What do you think Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak thinks of the protests?
f) What part has social media played in Egypt’s protests?
g) What three adjectives would you use to describe the situation in Egypt?
h) What do you know about Hosni Mubarak?

5. Search the Net and find information about Hosni Mubarak and Egypt then
Write a letter to Hosni Mubarak. Ask him three questions about Egypt protests. Give him three suggestions on what he should do now. Tell him your opinion on what he has done in his country so far.


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