As he fights for his political survival, Alexander Lukashenko has taken a big gamble by cutting off the internet across most of Belarus.
Belarusians seeking to protest against his government have been mostly cut off from the outside world: mobile internet has been throttled and popular messaging apps have been disabled, leaving demonstrators scrambling to find wifi connections and working VPNs or proxies to get online and then sharing what news they can find.
The internet blackout, which Lukashenko hopes will disrupt the protests against him for mass vote-rigging in last week’s presidential elections, is a rare example in modern Europe of government voluntarily knocking its entire country offline to stifle dissent.
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Internet blackout in Belarus leaves protesters in the dark
Protest groups in Belarus are trying to use limited access to the Telegram messaging service to coordinate anti-government action, but say an internet shutdown they blame on the authorities has been effective in slowing them down.