Ethiopia’s protests were stifled by a coordinated internet shutdown …

by Selam

Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of arrests have been reported in Ethiopia over the week, as part of protests against the marginalization and persecution of the Oromos and Amharas, Ethiopia’s two largest ethnic groups. But the attacks and arrests may not have been the only forms of retribution carried out by the Ethiopian government in its crackdown against protesters.

Last weekend, the internet was reportedly shut down in the country.

In an attempt to understand whether the internet was in fact shut down, we looked at some public sources of data that contain information about internet traffic. Such data provides strong indicators that the internet was most likely shut down during the Ethiopian protests last weekend, though it remains unclear if this occurred in all regions and/or on all types of networks across the country.

Ethiopian protests

Ongoing protests have been carried out by Ethiopia’s Oromo people since November, marking one of the most significant political developments in Ethiopia in recent years. These protests were sparked by the introduction of the Addis Ababa City Integrated Master Plan, which aims to expand the territorial limits of the country’s capital into neighboring Oromo towns, threatening to displace millions of Oromo farmers and bring the Oromo-dominated region under the Tigray-led federal government.

The unprecedented wave of protests has resulted in more than 400 deaths since November, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report.

 Protesters relied on the internet to plan and mobilize so this may have prompted the Ethiopian government to pull the plug. More protests sprung up in the Amhara regional state, with protesters requesting political reforms and specifically, the Welkait community demanding that ancestral land currently administered by the Tigray regional state be moved into

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