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Internet shutdown in Mauritania: stop the abuse, turn it on

Following reports of a nationwide block on mobile internet access in Mauritania, Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition strongly condemn these actions and urgently demand that the authorities take immediate action to reconnect the country, ensuring that everybody regains access to essential online services.

Authorities in Mauritania must not continue to follow in the footsteps of governments imposing internet shutdowns to quell protests and silence dissent. This is the second time this year authorities in the country have weaponized shutdowns. This act of repression is unacceptable and cannot be normalized. Mauritania must #KeepItOn — especially in times of crises. Felicia Anthonio, #KeepItOn Campaign Manager at Access Now

The internet shutdown reportedly targeted mobile internet while fixed internet (WiFi) remains functional. This deliberate restriction on internet access follows two days of widespread protests ignited by the killing of a young man at the Sebkha police station.

Mauritanian authorities have a history of employing internet shutdowns during crucial periods. In 2019, internet access was restricted after a fiercely contested presidential election. Earlier this year, mobile internet was abruptly cut off following the escape of four prisoners from a prison in Nouakchott.

In times of turmoil, people need the internet more than ever. Deliberate shutdowns hinder people’s ability to communicate and access vital information. Authorities in Mauritania must stop hitting ill the switch during critical moments. Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at Access Now

The Mauritanian government must immediately restore full internet connectivity for all.