Bahrain imposes 'internet curfew' near protests, activists say

Bahrain Watch reports that the government cuts off 3G and 4G services every night in Duraz.


The Bahrain government has shut down 3G and 4G services in the village of Duraz every night for the past month, according to advocacy group Bahrain Watch. Activists found that each night between 7PM and 1AM, some 3G and 4G cell towers in Duraz stop working entirely, while 2G towers broadcast notifications to phones saying mobile internet services are not supported in the area. Since the shutdowns are regular and appear to be coordinated across multiple ISPs, namely Balteco and Zain, Bahrain Watch says, "it is possible that the disruptions are a result of a Service Restriction Order from the Bahrain Government, in relation to the protests."

Bahrain Watch published a technical breakdown of the reported shutdowns.

Duraz is home to leading Shia Cleric Isa Qassim and it's been the site of protests since officials revoked his citizenship on June 20th. On top of the nightly internet interference, police have set up blockades and checkpoints across Duraz, activists say.

The United Nations Human Rights Council unequivocally condemns any government's practice of restricting internet access for its citizens. In July, the council passed a resolution reaffirming and expanding its stance upholding internet rights across the globe. The governments of countries such as Vietnam, China, Russia and Turkey have restricted internet access during times of political unrest or in an attempt to block content it deems "scandalous."