The thinking behind this internet shutdown is to curb the spread and flow of information about the unrest that has been ongoing in different parts of the country for months.

By Abdi Latif Dahir (Quartz) |

The internet shutdown in Ethiopia will drain millions of dollars from the economy, besides undermining citizens’ rights to impart and seek information, observers of the current state of emergency say.

Mobile internet remains down across the country since the government announced a six-month, nationwide emergency in early October. The government also this week banned the use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to communicate or to document the ongoing unrest in the country.

ALSO READ Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Means Severe Suppression, Even for Foreign Diplomats

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, has one of the lowest rates of internet and mobile phone connectivity in the world. The current protests, which have engulfed the country since Nov. 2015, have only exacerbated that situation. More than 500 people have died in the protests in both the Amhara and Oromia regions according to rights groups, 55 of whom died during a religious festival on Oct. 2.

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