Sudanese authorities are cutting off internet access in an attempt to disrupt nationwide anti-government protests.
Internet watchdog NetBlocks confirmed that a series of power outages across the country began at 8 a.m. local time (6 a.m. GMT) on Thursday, June 30. Both mobile and fixed networks have been disrupted to prevent activists from organizing on social media platforms.
“National connectivity is seen at just 17% of normal levels as of Thursday morning. The restrictions affect many internet users in Sudan and are likely to significantly limit coverage of events on the ground,” the monitoring organization said in a statement. (opens in new tab)†
Internet shutdowns are increasingly being used around the world to silence dissidents and hide abuses of violence. And while the use of security software such as VPNs can help mitigate the impact, these lockdowns have a huge impact on citizens’ lives and their fundamental rights.
⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data shows internet access in #Sudan has been cut after 8am local time, leaving users offline amid anti-junta protests and renewed calls for a civilian-led government; incident underway #30 June 📵📰 Report: https://t.co/NMIh2ROyPI pic.twitter.com/bpIAvxXqwCJune 30, 2022
What is going on in Sudan?
After the military coup of October 2021, authorities have used various tactics to crush the opposition. In addition to prolonged internet outages, these include social media restrictions and telecommunications outages.
The country’s leading pro-democracy coalition, Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, called for nationwide demonstrations on Thursday to push for a change of government. The protests also coincide with the third anniversary of the massive demonstrations that took place during the 2019 uprising, which ended with the fall of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir after more than 25 years of rule.
According to Reuters (opens in new tab) it has been reported that four protesters have already been killed, with authorities firing tear gas and water cannons to prevent the crowd from reaching the presidential palace.