Egypt's Army Turns to the Web After Protests

The army, thrust to the forefront of Egyptian politics with Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, has turned to the Web to win over youths who used the Internet to such devastating effect in bringing down the president.

The Higher Military Council has launched its own page on Facebook, the website that became an essential tool alongside others like Twitter in galvanizing the masses on to the streets.

The once-feared interior ministry in Tunisia, where protesters ousted their own leader a month before Mubarak stepped down, has had the same idea.

The Egyptian army site has drawn more than 98,000 supporters -- and rising. Among them were those who demonstrated in Tahrir Square. Some thanked the military, others called for a purge of old ministers and others urged the army to deliver on reform.

The council's site addressed its audience as the "sons of Egypt and the noble youths who ignited the January 25 revolution."

The council's statement says it launched the page "in the belief that fruitful cooperation in the period ahead with the noble sons of Egypt will lead to stability, security and safety for our beloved Egypt."

In the early days of the revolt, the authorities shut down the nation's Internet system, stunning the world with such a brazen act of censorship. Mobile lines were cut too.

But youths still found the means to keep the protest momentum going, as the numbers of those turning out of the street surged from the thousands to hundreds of thousands. On Friday, to mark the revolt, millions flooded Egypt's cities.

Ahmed N. Ibrahim, posting his comment on the council's page, wrote simply: "This is an admirable initiative. More and more reassuring."

Reflecting the anger many have toward Mubarak and his allies who they accuse of stealing Egypt's wealth, Maha Anwar Mostafa urged the council "to pursue the money of all the Mubarak family ... and freeze the foreign assets."

Others appealed to the army to remove old faces from a cabinet mainly made up of ministers appointed before Mubarak stepped down on February 11.

"I salute the Egyptian army and ask how there can be ministers from the old regime, not to mention Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq," who was also the former civil aviation minister, Mohamed Adel wrote.

Ahmed Abouraia thanked the army but listed demands, including a call that it "continue to protect the revolution until all the demands are realized."