Cairo - The internet and mobile-phone data service appeared to be cut across Egypt on Monday as authorities braced themselves for demonstrations backed by both the country's biggest opposition group and newly returned Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.
The government deployed an elite special operations force in Cairo last night as violence escalated outside the capital, and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood called on its members to take to the streets after Friday afternoon prayers.
Uniformed security forces at least temporarily disappeared from the streets of central Cairo mid-morning today, but truckloads of riot police and armoured cars started moving back about an hour later.
The Muslim Brotherhood said at least five of its leaders and five former members of parliament had been arrested.
The group's lawyer, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, and spokesman, Walid Shalaby, said a large number of rank-and-file Brotherhood members had also been detained.