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Opposition to Mubarak has been brewing for some time, but only disjointedly. Protests have come and gone, and plans for large-scale demonstrations often fizzle. The Egyptian police state, meanwhile, can be brutally effective at crushing dissent. And in the aftermath of Tunisia, the government is paying close attention; it has unleashed a wave of positive propaganda and released political prisoners.
But following November’s especially contentious parliamentary elections—where the ruling party won an improbable 97 percent of the seats amid accusations of massive vote-rigging—the forces
Since the beginning of the revolutionary turmoil in Tunisia, there have been continuous warnings in the media and by politicians of the danger that the protests could spread to other countries in the region or the entire Arab world. Above all, Egypt stands at the centre of such fears.
It is the most important ally of US imperialism in the region and the most populous country, with some 80 million inhabitants. The fear is that were the Egyptian masses to begin to move, the entire imperialist strategy and all of the bourgeois regimes in the region would be at risk.
The fear of action by the Egyptian population can also be seen in a separate statement from the Muslim Brotherhood issued last Wednesday. It declares that the conditions which led to the revolt in Tunisia exist as well in many other countries in the region.
Social conditions for the broad mass of the population are even worse in Egypt than in Tunisia, as documented in statistics recently disclosed at the national symposium of the Arab Labour Organisation (ALO). While in Tunisia 6.6 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, in Egypt the figure is over 40 percent.
According to press reports, at least five people in Egypt have set themselves on fire in recent days in order to draw attention to their desperate situation. In Tunisia, it was just such an incident that triggered the protests that forced the dictator Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Cairo erupts as Egyptian protesters demand Mubarak resign
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Egypt Tuesday, facing down a massive police presence to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in protests inspired by Tunisia's popular uprising.
Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak, had fled the country along with his family, according to the Adnkronos International news service.
Demonstrators calling for economic and political reforms broke through police barriers and began marching in Cairo's streets.
Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo and held large signs that read "Tunisia is the solution" amid massive police deployment, an AFP correspondent said.
‘Anonymous’ calls for attacks on Egyptian government websites
After reports said that social media websites Twitter and Facebook had been restricted in the country, the "Anonymous" Facebook page "Operation Egypt" issued a dire warning to the Egyptian government.
"To the Egyptian Govt : Anonymous challenges all those who are involved in censorship," the group wrote. "Anonymous wants you to offer free access to uncensored media in your entire country. When you ignore this message, not only will we attack your govt websites, we will also make sure that the international media see the horrid reality you impose on your people!"
A graphic on the Facebook page gave instructions for participating in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.