South Sudan Shut Down Social Media to Halt Mass Protests

South Sudanese authorities have temporarily blocked access to social media services across the country as part of security measures to abort calls for protests for peaceful regime change in the country scheduled for August 30, 2021.

Leaders of the civil society groups organizing for the mass protest say the plan has not changed but have decided to carry out more consultations with some top security officers, army generals, and police services to provide protection to protesters and to ensure people with different agendas and interests do not take advantage to destroy properties and cause havoc and harms.

A leading activist emphasized that the plan has not changed. It is still on course. People will go out, but we have just told them to wait for guidance from the central committee”,

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Online services have experienced restriction on Saturday after the government ordered telecom companies to block access to social media platforms as a part of measures to curtail mass mobilization for protests through social media platforms.

Nonetheless, activists continued to reach the social media platforms via Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

Activists say the blockage of social media services, shut down of a radio station in Jonglei, and arrest of a bishop in Yei County in Central Equatoria motivate their mobilization to protest for freedoms.

A police spokesman has denied any link between the arrest of a bishop, the closure of a radio station in Jonglei, and calls for general protests in the country.

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On Sunday, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth warned the public from taking part in the planned “illegal” protests on Monday.

Makuei further urged South Sudanese to support the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and the government efforts to move the country forward.

The official Government spokesperson, also, directed the civil service personnel and the public at large to resume their normal duties as usual.

The leaders of the civil rights activists are asking people to take to the street and protest the inability of the government to curb corruption, stop recurring communal fights, and ensuring freedom of expression.

Continued intimidation and arrest of activists, journalists, and political opponents are clear and obvious lack of political will to enforce the key provisions of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, they say.


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