Hague Slams Egypt For “Disturbing” Abuse Of Internet And Mobile Networks

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has slammed the Egyptian government for forcing Vodafone to send out pro-Mubarak texts to its subscribers.

Vodafone yesterday announced that Egyptian authorities had ordered local telecoms firms, including Mobinil and Etisalat, to send out pro-government messages. The move was seen by many as a concerted effort by the Egyptian government to instigate violence against demonstrators seeking to end President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

According to one such message obtained by Bloomberg, the texts called for “Egypt’s loyal men to confront the traitors and the criminals and to protect out families, our honour and our precious Egypt”.

Violence again broke out on Thursday in Cairo's main Tahrir Square, where pro-Mubarak supporters clashed with protesters for control.

Condemning the "reprehensible" scenes, Hague called for an end to interference with the Internet and mobile networks and the harassment of journalists reporting in the country.

"The abuse of Internet and mobile networks and, in particular, today's increased intimidation and harassment of journalists are unacceptable and disturbing," Hague said on Thursday.

"Today's scenes underline further the imperative need for the Egyptian authorities urgently to commit to an orderly transition to a broader-based Government that respects the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people."