Sunday, September 25, 2022

Social media outage in Sri Lanka ahead of today’s planned protest

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After the imposition of a state emergency, Sri Lanka has now imposed a social media blackout ahead of a planned protest today, according to internet observer entity NetBlocks. Around two dozen social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are reportedly affected by the blackout. “Confirmed: Real-time network data show Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide social media blackout, restricting access to platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram as emergency is declared amid widespread protests,” tweeted NetBlocks.

A 36-hour curfew is in place in view of the protest planned for today. The curfew was placed after a protest outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence turned violent on Thursday resulting in a clash between protesters and police. Several people were injured in the clashes and a bus attached to the Sri Lankan military was also torched allegedly by protesters.

Considering the outrage over the deepening economic crisis in the island nation, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday issued a gazette declaring a public emergency.

The island nation has been facing a terrible economic crisis due to the collapse of its tourism sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This, coupled with a national debt that has reached 101% of its GDP, has crippled the Sri Lankan economy. The Sri Lankan currency has seen a devaluation by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8.

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