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Zimbabwe Blocked WhatsApp and Facebook to Stop Coordinated Protests

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, has blocked social media sites and popular instant messenger application WhatsApp in trying to suppress rebellious views. According to several reports, users could not use WhatsApp in the early morning; and a complete ban was imposed on all the major mobile operators of the country by 7.00am local time. The ban was extended to all ISPs by mid-day and users began reporting difficulties in opening Facebook also.

This development is the consequence of the intention by the government to have only single international gateway which it can control. Many users of Internet in the country have confirmed that they can dodge the problem of "WhatsApp not working" and use the app normally by simply installing a VPN app on their smartphones. This technically confirms that it's not WhatsApp platform which is down but you cannot connect to it from your network.

Techzim.com posted on July 6th, 2016, stating that it would be definitely a stretched argument to mention that WhatsApp itself has blocked Econet and other internet providers in Zimbabwe from accessing its servers. It is feared that the embargo will not be withdrawn soon because government officials have indicated that they will continue to block some social media sites in trying to maintain security. Reuters reported that police arrested 40 protesters from all over Zimbabwe.

AFK insider says that the protest was successful because very few businesses were open with some schools were remain closed and taxi drivers increased fair four times while supporting the movement. Protesters also blocked some roads with vehicles making public transport difficult to operate.

The Zimbabwean government is spending approximately 82 percent of total national revenue on wages only and so the country is nearing towards economic collapse. There have been many protest incidents in the country during last many days. Protesters demonstrated against new restrictive import laws in the border town of Beitbridge on 2nd July; and due to this protest, Zimbabwe's largest port of entry with South Africa was closed temporarily.

Mugabe said that social media in the country required to be regulated because he believes that Zimbabweans can use these sites as cheap platform to criticize their government.

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