With residents of Egypt effectively cut-off from communication with the outside world, the Obama Administration has charted two planes to evacuate American citizens out of Egypt and into nearby Cyprus. With what experts predict will be a length evacuation effort, nearly 220 Americans have already left Egypt with the US State Department reporting that there are 2,400 other Americans in the country who have asked to be evacuated. This large scale evacuation effort comes as widespread demonstrations against the Egyptian government have led to clashes between protesters and police, looting, and other causes for alarm.
The demonstrations stem from civil unrest from the citizens wanting 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak to step down. He has spent more than 30 years in power, and his reign has been tainted by charges of police brutality, large scale poverty, government corruption and fights among Christians and Muslims, has handed over power to his son. The people of Egypt want a drastic change in the well-being of their country, but likely won’t get that if Mubrak hands power to his son as rumored to happen, and power stays in the same family’s hands. The more true it becomes his son, Gamal, may take over, the more the unrest rages.
They also are pushing for a fully democratic nation. When rumors that the ailing president was grooming his son to take over began to surface, public opposition reached all time highs with citizens calling from democratization and respect for their human and civil rights.
Outside of the sometimes violent protests seen around the world, residents of Egypt have virtually no alternative means of communication as their parliamentary elections in November were widely decried as fraudulent, and now Egypt has ordered nearly all of the country’s internet service providers shut down. The government first shut down Twitter and Facebook so the citizens had no way to relay what was really happening in their country–and to stifle the real stories from getting out.
Leaving only the Noor Group in operation (which covers about 8% of the market), most residents of Egypt have been cut off from communication with the outside world. This was mainly done as protests organizers are accused of using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to rally supporters. Although the U.S. government has not learned of any Americans being targeted or hurt in the protests, the State Department recommends U.S. citizens limit their movements and avoid protests if they don’t plan on leaving the country.
As for America’s position on Mubarak’s reign, neither Barack Obama nor US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have declared a definite position publically.