By the CNN Wire Staff
January 27, 2011 ___________________________________________________________________________________
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Hours ahead of what are expected to be massive displays of anti-government ferment across the world's most populous Arab nation, the internet went dark in parts of Egypt early Friday, and text messaging appeared to be blocked.
The Muslim Brotherhood has called for its followers to demonstrate after weekly Muslim prayers on Friday, the first time in the current round of unrest that the largest opposition bloc has told supporters to take to the streets.
Egyptian authorities arrested a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader in Friday pre-dawn hours, detaining the party's main speaker, Issam al-Aryan, according to his son-in-law.
Police came to al-Aryan's Cairo home at 2.30 a.m. local time, his son-in-law said.
According to multiple web services that check whether servers used by specific sites are active, the servers of Egypt's main internet provider were down early Friday.
The servers for the Egyptian government's sites and for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo also appeared to be down.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and are aware that communication services, including social media, are being blocked," U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday. "We continue to urge Egyptian authorities to show restraint and allow peaceful protests to occur."
Facebook is aware of reports of service disruption and saw a drop in traffic from Egypt Thursday morning, company spokeswoman Jillian Carroll said in a statement.
Government officials could not be immediately reached to comment on the internet and text message situation.
Egypt's Interior Ministry said Thursday that no protests will be permitted on Friday, but some Egyptians were going door to door in Cairo on Thursday night, urging their neighbors to participate.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei arrived in Cairo on Thursday and said "there is no going back" on change.
ElBaradei, the Egyptian Nobel laureate, said people have taken to the streets because they "realize the regime is not listening, not acting."
"The barrier of fear is broken," ElBaradei said after he arrived in Egypt from Europe on Thursday. "And it will not come back."
Now ElBaradei has said he will take part in the protests and passed along "advice to the regime: It's now the time to listen to the people. Make an innocent collective change.". Click Here to Read More.
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