Bangladesh shuts down mobile Internet due to protests

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 6, 2018.
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DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities have shut down mobile Internet across swathes of the country, officials and local media said yesterday, as the authorities try to quell massive student protests that have spiralled into violence.

For the last week, students have brought parts of the capital Dhaka to a standstill with a protest against poor road safety after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.

On Saturday, the protests took a violent turn in Dhaka’s Jigatala neighbourhood with more than 100 people injured.

Witnesses said police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators and that alleged pro-government activists attacked youngsters, including some of those rushing to nearby hospitals for treatment.

The country’s highest circulated newspaper Prothom Alo said 3G and 4G Internet services have been shut down for 24 hours since late on Saturday, shortly after the violence broke out.

Social media has been filled with comments from Bangladeshis unable to access the Internet via their phones, although wireless and wired networks appear to be unhindered.

Jahirul Haq, the chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, told AFP they received a “decision” from the government.

The move may be an attempt to try and limit the ability of students to mobilise or spread growing online outrage over how the government has handled the protests. — AFP