On Eritrea again: another social media blockage ahead of a planned protest. Africa’s lowest country in terms of internet penetration has today 15 May witness social media blockade. As of 2018, Eritrea had only 71,000 internet users which are an estimated 1.3% of its population. See world Statistic data as presented by Bassam Sebti here https://t.co/6oc1hDk4en
The BBC’s Tigrinya Service reports on this latest development which says people have now turned to virtual private networks, VPN for exchange of messages. The report further adds that messages cannot be exchanged via mobile phones. An extensive report on this can be seen here:http://tiny.cc/0avr6y
It is believed that the Government is said to have taken this measure to avert an intended protest as the country gears up for its 26th Independence Day celebrations on May 24. Communication through the media is under strict government control which operates in a one-party system with the centralization of power.
As a result of this power grip by President Isaias Afwerki since 1993, there has been no opposition force acting as a contender. As a result, Eritrea has serially been accused of violently crashing on dissent and muzzling the media, which statistically is currently non-existent.
Similar protest match was witnessed in Eritrea two years back in November 2017, when gunshots were used to disperse a group of students demonstrating against state interference in the running of schools.
This turns out to be the very last time the internet was cut while arrest and torture were being carried out. This probably explains Governments security measures ahead of this year’s protest.
Such actions, however, do not go unnoticed by the international community. Back in 2017, the United States Embassy in Eritrea’s State Capital Asmara issued a security alert. However, the Information Minister at the time dismissed the incident siting it as ” A small demonstration by one school which was dispersed without any casualties.”
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