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Ethiopian Authorities Shut Down Mobile Internet and Major Social Media Sites

Photo published on EthioTube page titled "Pictures from Oromo Protest - Winter 2015". No attribution or further context appears on the site.

Photo published on EthioTube page titled “Pictures from Oromo Protest – Winter 2015″. No attribution or further context appears on the site.

All mobile internet services have been shut down in Ethiopia for the last seven days, amid increasingly violent protest scenes and a recently declared a “state of emergency”.

Demonstrations have taken place with regular frequency in Ethiopia's Oromia region since November 2015, with protesters demanding greater self-rule, freedom and respect for the ethnic identity of the Oromo people, who have experienced systematic marginalization and persecution over the last quarter century. Authorities have used deadly force against the protesters on more than one occasion. On October 2 alone, 52 people were killed. The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), an opposition party, has reported a death toll of nearly 600 people.

While select social media and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp have been shut down sporadically as protests have grown more intense, in Addis Ababa, the capital, this is the longest sustained mobile Internet service shutdown that has taken place since they began.

The sudden silence of the protests on social media has left those tracking the movement over Facebook and Twitter worried.

The mobile Internet blackout is also likely resulting in a decrease in online news about the protests. Activists fear that the protest movement, which has relied on social media both for coordination and for circulating their message to international audiences, will be severed from their primary means of communication. Despite low Internet penetration in Ethiopia, social media are becoming essential —especially for the protest movements in Oromia and Amhara regional states. Newsfeeds from Facebook pages and Twitter feeds from Ethiopia are not showing the same abundance of posts as they were a week ago.

The government has been cutting off connectivity and blocking social media in Oromia and Amhara regions over the past 12 months. In June they blocked social media in the name of preventing exams leaks, but now it is not clear whether te government is switching off all mobile internet services as a precursor to the ongoing protest, or if the measure is intended as a reaction to protests. Those close to the situation fear this may be the beginning of a dangerous new phase after 12 months of protests.

  • Hadas Zeka


    Woyane “TPLF” was found and supported (as rebel organization) by Shaabia
    Eritrean Liberation Front “ELF”.
    ELF was found by Egypt & its colonial masters, which is always dreaming the flow of
    Blue Nile is guaranteed only as long as the destabilization of Ethiopia is
    The current unrest is “a dream come true for Egypt”. But the reason for
    the current unrest is 100% the TPLF ethnocentric apartheid political system
    itself, which created massive bad governance, corruption, genocide & ethnic
    cleansing, human and civil right abuses complacently funded and supported by
    Western hypocrites and Neocolonialists.
    The North Korean Style Mafia thug government of Ethiopia is a pathological liar,
    which never told truth, kept promises and deliver any hope for the youth.
    Always blame others for the bad/wrong and take credit for everything good and right.
    This is the driving force, despite the government 1:5 spy (informants) with cadre
    networks on the population, which made people boldly face the brutal fascist
    regime gun fires!
    Ethiopia is under a FASCIST GOVERNMENT TERROR complacently funded and supported by
    Western Powers, for over two decades, and now the worst is yet to come, for the
    next 6 months covered under STATE OF EMERGENCY!

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