Egypt bans Al-Jazeera channel as protests escalate

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 30, 2011 11:59 hrs

Moscow: The Egyptian authorities have imposed a ban on the work of the Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera in Egypt amid escalating anti-government protests in the north African country, Egypt's state television announced on Sunday.

According to the announcement, the accreditations of Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt have been annulled and the TV channel's access to satellite communication has been closed.

Al-Jazeera was a major news source for Egyptians, as it had the largest ramified network of correspondents across Egypt.

Al-Jazeera had telecast live reports from Cairo and other Egyptian cities swept by anti-government protests, interviewed opposition leaders and protesters and provided exclusive information on riots, lootings and victims in Egypt.

Anti-government protests started in Egypt January 25, with crowds of tens of thousands demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down after three decades of unbridled power.

Earlier, Al Jazeera said about 100 people had been killed in clashes with police in Cairo and other Egyptian cities.

More than 10 protesters were killed in clashes with police near the Egyptian interior ministry building in Cairo in the early hours of Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.

A crowd of protesters was trying to storm the building, located in the centre of the Egyptian capital, forcing police to open fire, the TV channel reported.

In the Faiyum governorate, an administrative division, located about 81 miles (about 130 km) to the southwest of Cairo, unidentified gunmen shot dead the chief of a local prison, freeing several hundred prisoners, Al Jazeera said.

On Saturday, Mubarak dismissed the country's government and appointed a former civil aviation minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the new prime minister, ordering him to form a new cabinet.


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