The Republic of Sudan was digitally cut off from the world today, amid government protests. The government likely cut the cord to stem outrage over the termination of fuel subsidies, though they have yet to issue an official statement on the matter.
“There are 4 physical routes from Sudan to the rest of the world. So, it is unlikely that all four cables were cut. Instead it is likely that the state telecom (Sudatel) stopped announcing routes to the rest of the Internet – which effectively stopped web communications for the Sudanese to the rest of the world and vice versa,” writes Co-founder of Internet User experience firm Cloudflare, Michelle Zatlyn, to me in an email.
Rioters have taken to the streets in the capitol city of Khartoum, after the International Monetary Fund demanded the city cut subsidies for fuel. According to The Guardian, the subsidies consumed more than 75% of the government’s revenue. Sudan lost much of its oil producing territory after South Sudan split into its own independent nation in 2011.
Sudan is not the only nation to curtail the internet as a means of muzzling protestors. Last spring, war-torn Syria also cut itself off, presumably to cripple protesters who coordinated with and galvanized support from the rest of the world. However if history is any indication, it will not stop the Sudanese people.