Social media users in Ethiopia have been able to use social networking sites Facebook and Twitter from Friday night without proxy sites after the social media platforms were unblocked by Ethiopian authorities.
For the last nine months, Ethiopia’s two most popular social networking sites had been blocked.
Negeri Lencho, Minister of Ethiopian Government Communications Affairs Office (GCAO) said the reason for the blockage of the social network sites was their utilization by extreme few to create division and instability in the East African nation.
Professional networking site Linkedin, photo sharing site Instagram as well as text and file sharing sites Wechat and Whatsapp, however, weren’t included in the blockade.
The nationwide blockage of Facebook and Twitter coincided with the decree of a six months martial law by the Ethiopian government on October 9, 2016 after a week of widespread anti-government riots in Ethiopia’s largest regional state Oromia left many local and foreign businesses damaged.
The week long riots were triggered by a clash on October 2 between security forces and Ethnic Oromo protestors at an Oromo religious festival Irrecha in Bishoftu city, 37 km south of Addis Ababa.
The clash left at least 56 people dead when tear gas fired by security forces to counter protestors caused a deadly stampede.
Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, makes up a third of the country’s 100 million people, with many Oromos complaining of decades of economic, political and cultural disenfranchisement.
The six months martial law declared in October 9, 2016 has already been extended by another four months, with a decision whether to extend the martial law set to be decided next month.