Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election

Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election

The connectivity blackout, which also includes landline phones, appears to be a government-imposed outage that comes amid widespread protests and increasing social unrest over Belarus' presidential election Sunday.

The ongoing shutdown has further roiled the country of about 9.5 million people, where official election results this morning indicated that five-term president Aleksandr Lukashenko had won a sixth term with about 80 percent of the vote.

A prescient report on Saturday from the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets included an interview with a salesperson who warned journalists attempting to buy SIM cards that the government had indicated widespread connectivity outages might be coming as soon as that night.

"I think everyone understands it is caused by government, but operators do not want to recognize it publicly," Franak Via?orka, a journalist in Minsk, told WIRED.

The outages come as governments around the world, including in Iran, Ethiopia, and India, have increasingly used internet blackouts as a tool of repression and authoritarian control to try to quash mass protests and unrest.

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