As is the case with all the socio-political developments across the globe, social media emerged as a potent tool for the anti-government protestors in Egypt. Despite the blockade imposed on internet and mobile communication services by the authorities, photos and videos as well as responses to the Egypt unrest flood social media.
Threatened by the possibility of what could follow if access to internet and other modes of communication continued, the authorities quickly turned to blockades. While the microblogging site Twitter, which along with social networking site Facebook was used by protestors to organize the rallies, was the first to face the block on Tuesday, other services followed. As of Friday, all forms of internet access and even SMS services stand disrupted as protests continued. This move by the authorities has almost left the country cut off from the rest of the world.
However, before the blanket blockade took effect several citizen journalists were able to upload glimpses of ground reality in the tension-torn country in form of videos and images on popular websites like YouTube and Flickr.
YouTube has a lot of raw footage from users, besides the videos uploaded by the media outlets on their official channels. One users called bluezasskicker has uploaded a video of January 25 protests at Tahrir Square, Cairo. The international news agency, Reuters, on the other hand, has posted an amateur video footage capturing the ongoing anti-government protests in Egypt's capital Cairo.
Similarly, Flickr has been flooded with pictures from professional as well as citizen journalists. Al Jazeera, the Doha-based media outlet, has a compilation of photos of Egypt protests on its English Photostream. A user called giaitri59 has some of the most impressive shots from the streets of the violence-hit nation.
One user Annahlee_246 wrote, If the government of my country tried to shut down the internet and mobile phone networks I would definitely be protesting too #jan25 #Egpyt
Questioning the authorities, another user, Lubna_Lasa tweeted, Creating a blackout in #Egpyt will not shut out the voices of the people husni #Whatsthematterwithyou guilty much? Or just scared? #Jan25
Most of the tweets slamming the communication blackout came in from the United States.
LastRocknRoller posted, Obama/Biden calling for peaceful protest/communication w/protesters Egypt Govt. shut down their internet. What about communication?! #Egpyt
Protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak broke out on Tuesday. The violence has only escalated since then leading to deaths of five demonstrators and two policemen so far.