Libya suffers Egypt's internet fate

Libyan authorities cut off internet access across the country over the weekend following bloody pro-democracy uprisings that have left some 173 dead, according to figures confirmed by the Australian Government.

Libyan authorities cut off internet access across the country over the weekend following bloody pro-democracy uprisings that have left some 173 dead, according to figures confirmed by the Australian Government.

Traffic lights

(Traffic lights image by Horia Varlan, CC2.0)

Just after Saturday 2am local time in Libya, US-based Arbor Networks security company detected a total cessation of online traffic. Protesters confirmed they could not get online.

News sites and Facebook were the first sites to be blocked by the Libyan Government in a copycat response used by autocracy regimes in Egypt and Bahrain, which cut online access when protests first flared.

Libya's internet and mobile services are essentially state owned and controlled, as Libya Telecom & Technology's chairman is dictator Muammar Gaddafi's eldest son.

Information is tightly controlled in Libya, but protesters have uploaded footage of the revolt to YouTube and social networks Twitter and Facebook. Some of the footage depicts heavy gunfire sounding around the protesters. Other information about the protests has come from opposition activists in exile.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has said that the violence in Libya was "right out there" by comparison to the protests across Arab states which have already toppled autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of violence against unarmed protesters," Rudd told ABC Radio National this morning.

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