.The pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said that six of its journalists have been detained from a hotel in Cairo after authorities ordered the closure of the network's local office yesterday.
The nationalities of the arrested al-Jazeera employees are "Australian, Portuguese and British," according to local Arab media reports.
The journalists are part of its English-language channel, a sister operation to the flagship Arabic service, it said. The news network called the Egyptian ban "an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists."
"In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society, it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard," said the statement from its headquarters in Qatar's capital Doha.
"The closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people."
The Egyptian authorities announced yesterday through the state television that they are revoking the Al Jazeera Network's licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting down its bureau office in Cairo, according to the channel.
Egyptian state news agency MENA said Al Jazeera’s journalists had been stripped of their accreditation and the network’s licence had been withdrawn.
"The Information Minister ordered....suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today," a statement on the MENA website said yesterday.
Al Jazeera has been at the forefront of reporting on the popular protests and riots that overthrew Tunisian president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and threaten to do the same to Mubarak.
Before many others, the news channel flooded bulletins with footage, streamed online and updated its Twitter, Facebook and blog sites.
The network has frequently been at odds with authorities in the Middle East, previously facing bans or restrictions in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
In December, Al Jazeera’s Kuwait offices were closed after the state accused it of meddling in domestic affairs.
Stepping up the agitation against enmbattled Mubarak, anti-government protesters gave a call for a million people to pour onto the streets of Cairo tomorrow to put up a massive show of strength to force the beleaguered President to leave the country by Friday.
Upping the ante to topple Mubarak, a coalition of opposition parties, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood also served an ultimatum telling the powerful army to choose between "Egypt or Mubarak", indicating that a decisive stage may be near as the death toll in the last six days of violence crossed 150.