Ethiopia unblocks use of Facebook, Twitter
ADDIS ABABA: Social media users in Ethiopia have been able to use social networking sites Facebook and Twitter from Friday night without proxy sites after the social media platforms were unblocked by Ethiopian authorities.
For the past nine months, Ethiopia’s two most popular social networking sites had been blocked.
Negeri Lencho, Minister of the Ethiopian Government Communications Affairs Office, said the reason for the blockage of the social network sites was their utilisation by a few to create division and instability in the East African nation.
Professional networking site LinkedIn, photo sharing site Instagram as well as text and file sharing sites WeChat and WhatsApp, however, weren’t included in the blockade.
The nationwide blockage of Facebook and Twitter coincided with the decree of a six-month period of martial law by the Ethiopian government on October 9, 2016, after a week of widespread anti-government riots in Ethiopia’s largest regional state Oromia left many local and foreign businesses damaged.
The riots were triggered by a clash on October 2 between security forces and ethnic Oromo protesters at an Oromo religious festival Irrecha in Bishoftu city, 37km south of Addis Ababa. The clash left at least 56 people dead when teargas fired by security forces to counter protesters caused a deadly stampede.
Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, makes up a third of the country’s 100 million people.
Many Oromos are complaining of decades of economic, political and cultural disenfranchisement. Xinhua