The Republic of Benin government has shut down Internet for the parliamentary elections currently ongoing in the country.
Benin is today holding legislative election, with no opposition politicians on the ballot.
The Electoral Commission said in March that none of the parties opposed to the government met new requirements and the National Assembly failed to reach an agreement on a constitutional.
The decision has been rejected by the opposition and civil society group, who have said the commission action could take the country back.
A twitter user, Mylene, announcing the Internet shutdown said: Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram and other social networking site have been blocked by the government.
She said, “Hello World. For the 1st time in history, #Benin government decided to block social media for the parliament elections. We are worried about the situation.”
— Fifa (@MyleneFlicka) April 28, 2019
“According to the information I receive, there were a general Internet shutdown between 12PM and 1 PM. After that, the Internet came back but without social media. People who manage to connect use either a VPN or a WiFi. But they are few #BeninShutdown”.
“It’s a sad day for Benin democracy. Not only Benin hold legislative elections in which not a single opposition party is allowed to run, but it also shut down social media on the poll day. The transparency of the election is compromised in many ways. #BeninShutdown #KeepItOn”.
Also confirming the block, a civil society group, Netblocks in a statement said, several VPN services used to work around network restrictions are also unavailable.
Urgent: Network data shows #Bénin has blocked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram and all major social media and messaging platforms on election day, threatening the democratic process. VPN services are also restricted #KeepItOn ⬇️https://t.co/Y94ipLiLsv pic.twitter.com/EECIWDdQ1b
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) April 28, 2019
The statement read, “Providers in Benin have blocked access to social media networks and communication apps in advance of today’s elections, according to network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and messaging apps WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber are among the affected apps.”
“Several VPN services used to work around network restrictions are also unavailable. The disruptions affect many, but not all, of Benin’s internet users, with variation by internet service provider and connection type.”
“Communication services shown to be restricted by the latest NetBlocks measurement data are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatApp, Telegram, Viber, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, WeChat, Skype, Tinder, Snapchat. Link sharing service t.co, and backend image, video and registration services for several of the apps are also blocked. Blocked VPNs include Tunnelbear, Hola, TigerVPN, PureVPN and the home page of the open source OpenVPN software project.”