Internet is shut down in Sudan on anniversary of military coup

Online access in Sudan was disrupted Tuesday as tens of thousands protested on the anniversary of a military coup that derailed a transition towards democratic governance. 

Multiple global web traffic monitors reported an internet shutdown that significantly disrupted cell and fixed line connections lasting from roughly 9:50am to 6:15pm local time. 

Protesters clashed with police and at least one person was killed Tuesday, Reuters reported. The protests were the latest in a bloody series of demonstrations since the coup that brought current military leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan to power last October. 

“Today’s shutdown is the latest chapter in a sad legacy of internet shutdowns in Sudan,” Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik, told The Record. 

Authorities in Sudan have regularly turned to cutting or limiting online access during periods of civil unrest since before the 2019 overthrow of former dictator Omar al-Bashir, whose tenure saw nation-wide blackouts as well as a 68-day long block on social media sites from December 2018 through February of 2019. 

The military coup last year was also accompanied by a weeks-long internet shutdown that continued despite a local court order calling for access to be restored. 

The military regime has repeatedly disrupted online access when facing popular unrest ever since, including in December, January, June, and today. 

On Sunday, the government also suspended the Sudanese Society for Consumer Protection, a nonprofit that challenged the internet shutdowns last year in court. Authorities shut down the organization by force, seizing assets and withdrawing accreditation, Agence France-Presse reported

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson (they/them) is a longtime cybersecurity journalist who cut their teeth covering technology policy at ThinkProgress (RIP) and The Washington Post before doing deep-dive public records investigations at the Project on Government Oversight and American Oversight.