On Sunday April 3, the Sri Lankan army with assault weapons and police manned checkpoints in Colombo as the government shut down social media platforms after imposing a curfew to quell popular unrest triggered by the country’s economic crisis.
The latest restrictions came after the government imposed a nationwide curfew on Saturday following violent protests against the government’s handling of the economic crisis. On Monday, the curfew will be in effect until 06:00 (00:30 GMT or 08:30 Philippine time).
Internet monitoring organization NetBlocks said real-time network data showed Sri Lanka had imposed a nationwide social media shutdown, restricting access to platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Instagram as a state of emergency was declared amid widespread protests.
The country’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Namal Rajapaksa, who is also President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nephew, said in a tweet that he would “never tolerate social media blocking”.
President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Friday, raising fears of a crackdown on protests as the country grapples with rising prices, shortages of essentials and power cuts.
“The availability of VPN, just as I use it now, makes such bans completely unnecessary. I urge the authorities to think more gradually and reconsider this decision.
Emergency powers in the past have allowed the military to arrest and detain suspects without a warrant, but the terms of the current powers are still unclear.
It also marked a sharp shift in political support for President Rajapaksa, who came to power in 2019 on a promise of stability.
Summary of news:
- In Sri Lanka, social networking sites have been restricted
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