One of the originators of last week’s protests has been arrested, his friends say. Wired.com reports:
An Egyptian Facebook activist and leader of the group known as the April 6 Youth has been arrested in Cairo, friends told Wired.com Wednesday in e-mails.
Ahmed Maher, 30, gained prominence in 2008 as one of the co-founders of the April 6 Youth, a solidarity group launched to support protests. Organizing mostly online, especially on Facebook, it is a carefully decentralized network of activists, who have used the tools of social media to broadcast grievances with the Mubarak regime, mobilize support, evade the government’s ubiquitous security forces, and, now, help to bring the Mubarak regime to its knees…
Maher and a friend launched a Facebook group to promote a protest planned for April 6, 2008. It became an internet phenomenon, quickly attracting more than 70,000 members. That protest died still-born, but Maher has continued to organize and has played a prominent role in the uprising of the past week aimed at toppling the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarark.
Word of Maher’s arrest came from two separate sources shortly after protesters began to clash with pro-government groups after Mubarak pledged step down in September, signalling a major escalation of violence after days of largely peaceful protests. The arrest could not immediately be confirmed.