Feb 27, 2021 - World

Iran reports internet disruption following anti-government protests

Illustrated collage of a hand reaching for a computer.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The southeastern region of Iran on Saturday reported internet disruptions following demonstrations against Monday's fatal border shootings, AP reports.

The big picture: Iran has a history of suppressing freedom of speech, association and assembly, according to Amnesty International. Internet blackouts are now common around the world when power hangs in the balance, Axios' Dave Lawler and Sara Fischer write.

Details: The Iranian government shut down the mobile data network in Sistan and Baluchestan — where the vast majority of the population accesses the internet by phone — for three days starting Wednesday. Residents said the internet had been restored by early Saturday, per AP.

What they're saying: "This is Iran’s traditional response to any kind of protest ... Shutting down the internet to block news and pictures getting out makes (authorities) feel more comfortable opening fire," Amir Rashidi from Miaan Group, a human rights organization focused on digital security in the Middle East, told AP.

Context: Protests in the southeast region earlier this week "over the shootings of fuel smugglers trying to cross back into Iran from Pakistan on Monday" left at least two people dead, AP writes.

  • There are still no official reports of how many people have been killed or injured by law enforcement, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor, a group dedicated to calling attention to human rights violations in Iran.

Flashback: Iranian authorities in 2019 implemented a near-total internet shutdown during protests to prevent people from sharing images and videos of the lethal force used by law enforcement against anti-government demonstrators who were protesting a rise in fuel prices, per Amnesty International.

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