Sri Lanka has restricted access to major social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, internet monitoring organization NetBlocks said on Sunday, after the government imposed a curfew to deal with growing unrest amid growing unrest. unprecedented economic crisis.
“Real-time network data shows that Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide social media blackout, restricting access to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Instagram as an emergency is declared in amid widespread protests,” NetBlocks said in a tweet.
A senior police officer based in the commercial capital Colombo confirmed the restrictions on social media platforms.
“Social media has also been blocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission,” Chief Superintendent of Police Nihal Thalduwa told Reuters.
The restrictions come after the government imposed a nationwide curfew on Saturday as protests over the government’s handling of the economic crisis turned violent. The curfew will last until 06:00 (00:30 GMT) Monday.
Thalduwa said 664 people who broke curfew rules were arrested by police in Western Province, the country’s most populous administrative division, which includes Colombo.
Authorities have imposed restrictions on social media following government orders.
“The blocking of social media is temporary and imposed due to special instructions given by the Ministry of Defence. It was imposed in the interest of the country and the people to maintain calm,” Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Chairman Jayantha de Silva told Reuters.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Friday, raising fears of a crackdown on protests as the country experiences inflation, shortages of essential goods and power cuts.
Emergency powers in the past have allowed the military to arrest and detain suspects without a warrant, but the terms of the current powers are still unclear.