Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election
In Belarus, cellular service and internet connectivity have been shut down since Sunday evening after frequent outages throughout the day. Experts and analysts believe that the connectivity blackout was enacted by the government to disperse widespread protests and social unrest over Belarus’s presidential elections. This morning, the election results showed that Aleksandr Lukashenko will be in office for a sixth term after winning 805 of the vote.
Lukashenko’s campaign sparked outrage and protests against his administration, including grievances over his foreign policy and leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the days leading up to the elections, protests continued to occur and grow in size. The internet shutdown has angered the protestors even more, and the government has responded by mobilizing military forces. Belarus’s opposition candidates believe that the election was rigged in favor of Lukashenko. Lukashenko has denied involvement in the internet outages, blaming the lack of cell service on DDoS attacks against the country.