CAIRO (AP) – An advocacy group says Sudanese authorities disrupted internet access on Thursday, ahead of scheduled mass protests denouncing last year’s military coup and demanding the immediate transfer of power to civilians.
Netblocks.org said in a statement that the disruption was recorded across many mobile and fixed-line internet providers, including state operator Sudantel, leaving national connectivity at only 17 percent of its ordinary levels.
“The restrictions impact many internet users in Sudan and are likely to significantly limit coverage of events on the ground,” read the statement.
Sudan’s leading pro-democracy coalition, Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change have called for a nationwide protest on Thursday to reiterate their demand for a reversal of the Oct. 25 military coup. The takeover upended the East African country’s short-lived transition to democracy following the 2019 ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.
The coup has triggered near-daily street protests, which authorities have met with a deadly crackdown that led to the killing of 103 people including 17 children, according to a local medical group tracking the casualties.
Hundreds of people, including prominent politicians and activists, have been detained, although many have been released recently as part of trust-building measures.
Internet shutdowns and blockings have been routinely recorded ahead of most anti-coup protests.
“NetBlocks recommends against the use of network disruptions and social media restrictions to counter protests, given their disproportionate impact to fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” said the London-based group.