Sri Lanka Social Media: Sri Lanka restores social media platforms after 15 hours

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government on Sunday lifted restrictions on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after declaring a nationwide public emergency and imposed a 36-hour curfew ahead of an anti-government rally over the worst-hit economic situation. Crisis in the island nation.

According to an official, services of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Toktok, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Facebook Messenger were restored after 15 hours.

Services were blocked completely or partially.

Colombo Page newspaper reported that the move was aimed at preventing people from gathering in Colombo to protest against the government’s failure to provide relief to the people who were short of food, essential commodities, fuel and medicines.

Netblox, a surveillance organization that monitors cyber security and governance of the Internet, had confirmed the ban on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber and YouTube, in Sri Lanka after midnight on Sunday.

Previously, Netblocks tracked a significant drop in connectivity levels on Internet Provider Dialog since March 29, which coincided with the start of the protests.

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The island nation on Sunday forced protests across the country to stem the government’s handling of the ongoing economic crisis, where people currently face prolonged power outages and shortages of essential commodities. Imposition of curfew will prevent citizens from protesting.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification late Friday declaring a public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect from April 1.

The government also imposed a 36-hour curfew from 6 pm on Saturday to 6 am on Monday (April 4).

A Sri Lankan man on Saturday alleged that his son, a social media activist, was abducted by the police.

Anurudh Bandara’s father said that his son was taken away by someone from North Colombo police station in Modera on Friday night.

According to the police, he was to be questioned about his social media activities. He was released on bail on Sunday.

Sri Lanka is currently facing the worst economic crisis in history. People have been battling for weeks due to long lines for fuel, cooking gas, essential items in short supply and hours of power cuts.

Rajapaksa has defended his government’s actions, saying the foreign exchange crisis was not his and the economic slowdown was largely driven by the pandemic where the island’s tourism revenue and inward remittances were dwindling.

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