Ethiopia restricts social media use after a religious disagreement becomes violent.

According to NetBlocks, access to social media platforms has been limited in Ethiopia as a result of violent protests triggered by a conflict within the country's Orthodox Church.

Feb 11, 2023 - 15:21
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Ethiopia restricts social media use after a religious disagreement becomes violent.

Protests began in the Oromiya area last month when three church officials crowned themselves archbishops and established their own governing body. Some protesters opposed their move, whereas others supported it.

Since February 4, at least 30 people have been killed in protests, based on a statement issued by the church on Thursday.

The statement called for protests on Sunday, condemning the Ethiopian government of "meddling" in the internal affairs of the church after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed requested his ministers to remain out of the conflict.

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The Ethiopian state has always maintained close ties with the Orthodox Church, to which more than 40% of the population belongs.

Legesse Tulu, an Ethiopian government spokesperson, did not immediately reply to requests for comment on Friday. To avoid unrest, the authorities declared in a statement on Thursday that the impending demonstration had been prohibited.

NetBlocks reported late Thursday that access to Facebook, Messenger, TikTok, and Telegram was severely blocked, citing network data it had obtained.

Ethiopian authorities have previously shut down or restricted internet access during periods of political unrest, as in reaction to protests in 2020 following the death of a prominent Oromiya musician.

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