Politics

Internet blacked out in Zimbabwe amid crackdown

Zimbabwe was under an internet blackout on Friday after authorities extended a communications ban to cover emails. Meanwhile, the United Nations is urging an end to a security crackdown on civilians triggered by days of deadly protests. Saskia O’Donoghue reports

HARARE, ZIMBABWE / PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (Reuters) – Days of violent protests in Zimbabwe — and then on Friday another Internet blackout.

It was part of the government’s response to stop the unrest, which also includes a security crackdown.

Reuters’ MacDonald Dzirutwe is in the capital, Harare.

REUTERS’ MACDONALD DZIRUTWE,

“We woke up this morning to find out that you know there was an Internet blackout and, in fact, the main mobile phone company, which also owns the biggest internet company, sent messages to clients, saying that it had received a directive from the government to completely shut down the internet until further notice. So, what that basically means is that people have no access to internet, no access to any Internet applications or, you know, including social media sites. Many people are not able to work.”

The Internet was also temporarily cut earlier in the week.

Friday’s blackout was partially lifted later in the day but some social media sites were still blocked.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is calling for an end to the use of force.

The government says several have died in the demonstrations that broke out after President Emmerson Mnangagwa raised fuel prices by 150 percent.

Activists say the toll is much higher.

Protesters accuse Mnangagwa of failing to live up to his campaign pledge to kickstart their economy… and of crushing dissent like his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

REUTERS’ MACDONALD DZIRUTWE,

“That’s the fear of many people that this will become a routine exercise whenever the government is confronted by protests, well you know, for Zimbabwean law, Zimbabwe’s difficulty falling into familiar ways. Many people had given Mnangagwa the benefit of the doubt that, you know, as a right hand man for Mugabe or for all those years since independence in 1980 you could steer the country in a totally different direction.”

People are queueing for hours to get gasoline — and food prices have shot up.

The government has allowed some allowances to public workers to offset the cost.


Associated Links

  • Geography of Africa
  • Africa
  • Republics
  • Zimbabwe

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