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Quartz: Blocked off: How the Ethiopia protests were stifled by a coordinated internet shutdown August 14, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistGrand #Oromoprotests in Finfinnee, image by Quartz

Alert, mass killings and torture is going on against Oromo people in Ethiopia.

How the Ethiopia protests were stifled by a coordinated internet shutdown

Guartz, 14 August 2016


Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of arrests have been reported in Ethiopia over the week, as part of protests against the marginalization and persecution of the Oromos and Amharas, Ethiopia’s two largest ethnic groups. But the attacks and arrests may not have been the only forms of retribution carried out by the Ethiopian government in its crackdown against protesters.
Last weekend, the internet was reportedly shut down in the country.
In an attempt to understand whether the internet was in fact shut down, we looked at some public sources of data that contain information about internet traffic. Such data provides strong indicators that the internet was most likely shut down during the Ethiopian protests last weekend, though it remains unclear if this occurred in all regions and/or on all types of networks across the country.
Ethiopian protests

Ongoing protests have been carried out by Ethiopia’s Oromo people since November, marking one of the most significant political developments in Ethiopia in recent years. These protests were sparked by the introduction of the Addis Ababa City Integrated Master Plan, which aims to expand the territorial limits of the country’s capital into neighboring Oromo towns, threatening to displace millions of Oromo farmers and bring the Oromo-dominated region under the Tigray-led federal government.

The unprecedented wave of protests has resulted in more than 400 deaths since November, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report.

Protesters relied on the internet to plan and mobilize so this may have prompted the Ethiopian government to pull the plug.

More protests sprung up in the Amhara regional state, with protesters requesting political reforms and specifically, the Welkait community demanding that ancestral land currently administered by the Tigray regional state be moved into the neighboring Amhara region.
The new-found unity between the two historically antagonistic communities of the Oromo and Amharas against a common adversary, the TPLF-led government, seems to have raised the tension in the country. The security forces response has been extreme, with observers comparing it to the 2005 post-election violence where nearly 200 people were killed. This time though, at least 30 people were reportedly killed in the Amhara region in one day alone.
Internet shutdown

Protesters relied on the internet to plan, mobilize and coordinate with each other and this may have prompted the Ethiopian government to pull the plug on the internet even before the planned protests started.

But this is not the first time that the Ethiopian government appears to be restricting access to the internet this year.
Last month, the government reportedly blocked social media platforms across the country after university entrance exams were leaked on Facebook by an Oromo activist, as a form of protest against the government.
Public data from last weekend indicates that the internet was shut down in Ethiopia during the heat of the protests, but it remains unclear if this occurred nationwide.
The graphs below illustrate that while internet traffic appeared to be originating from Ethiopia up until Aug. 5, such traffic was suddenly terminated until August 8th, indicating that the internet was probably shut down.
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How the Ethiopia protests were stifled by a coordinated internet shutdown

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