According to NetBlocks internet resource, numerous social media platforms and messengers, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram, have been shut down by leading network operators in Iraq, as the country faces massive demonstrations with numerous casualties in Baghdad and other cities.
The internet observatory reported that earlier this week, over 75 per cent of the country had gone offline, excluding autonomous regions which operate their own networks.
Confirmed: #Iraq has blocked Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and other platforms as of 12:30 UTC amid growing unrest as protesters approach Green Zone; network data show multiple providers affected; incident ongoing #Iraq_Protest #KeepItOn 📉— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 2, 2019
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According to Mustafa Saadun, the head of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, 450 people were detained and half of them were later released.
⏱ It has been 48 hours since #Iraq shut down internet access amid nationwide protests, representing:— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) October 4, 2019
➡️ Violation of UN resolution A/HRC/32/L.20
➡️ Imminent threat to public safety
➡️ Severe restriction to press freedom
➡️ Economic impact est. ~$200m
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"Seventy-three people were killed, and about 3,000 were injured since the beginning of the clashes with security forces. Most of those killed and injured are from Baghdad and Dhi Qar province", Saadun said, adding that Friday was the "bloodiest" day of protests.
On Thursday, the authorities introduced a curfew in Baghdad and later expanded the restrictions to other cities and provinces. People that joined the rallies demanded the resignation of the government, new jobs, economic reforms and measures against corruption.
The recent rallies erupted a year after large-scale protests against low living standards rocked Iraq's south, particularly, the city of Basra.