Internet goes dark in Kenya in the wake of major protests over finance bill


London-based internet rights monitoring group NetBlocks has reported a major internet disruption in Kenya following a wave of demonstrations across the country, as police violently cracked down on citizens taking to the streets to protest a government bill to hike taxes despite tough economic times and widespread corruption.

The interruption in access comes as the country’s ICT regulator, the Communications Authority, earlier today said that it had no plans to shut down or interfere with the internet today.

The authority in the statement said it “had no intention whatsoever to shutdown internet traffic or interfere with the quality of connectivity. Such actions would be a betrayal of the constitution as a whole, the freedom of expression in particular and our own ethos.”

Users have been reporting interrupted or slow internet connections, with NetBlocks confirming the outage also affected neighboring countries Uganda and Burundi.

“Live network data show a major disruption to internet connectivity in Kenya; the incident comes amidst a deadly crackdown by police on #RejectFinanceBill2024 protesters a day after authorities claimed there would be no internet shutdown. The ongoing internet disruption has impacted Kenya as well as neighboring countries including Uganda and Burundi; the incident is likely to limit coverage of events on the ground where protests are held,” said NetBlocks.

There was also intermittent access to social media platforms such as X that have been instrumental in bringing protestors together.

Protestors have been using platforms such as X and TikTok to publicize their concerns over the high cost of living, taxation, unwarranted debt accumulation and the rampant misuse of public resources by the political class, among other issues.

Protestors also used social media to call for prudent use of public resources and to get the attention of political leaders. But unable to get leaders to listen, they have taken to the street to get their attention.

The protestors earlier Tuesday then stormed the parliament moments after lawmakers voted to adopt the bill, resulting in several fatalities and scores of people with injuries. It was then that the internet started to fall over.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update the post as we learn more.

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