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Sri Lanka bans social media as citizens protest against worst economic crisis in country’s history

  • An economic crisis years in the making has caused prices of daily necessities in Sri Lanka to skyrocket.
  • At least two people have died while lining up for hours just to buy fuel.
  • The turmoil has led to protests that forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to declare a state of emergency last Friday and a curfew that lasted for three days.
  • To “maintain calm,” the Ministry of Defense then imposed a sweeping social media ban, which was lifted hours later after protests from the opposition.
  • The country is now negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, but discussions are expected to last until the end of the year.

Sri Lanka has become the latest Asian country to ban social media in an attempt to quell protests against its government, whose alleged incompetence has reportedly led to the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.

The temporary ban, which restricted access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp, was placed on Sunday under orders from the Ministry of Defense. Jayantha de Silva, chairman of the federal telecom regulatory authority, told Reuters that it was “imposed in the interests of the country and people to maintain calm.”