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Amid anti-Modi protests, Facebook says services restricted in Bangladesh

Amid anti-Modi protests, Facebook says services restricted in Bangladesh

Activists from Islamist groups clash with police as they protest against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Dhaka AFP/Munir Uz zaman

COX'S BAZAR: Social network Facebook and its messaging app have been down in Bangladesh since Friday, the US tech giant said on Saturday (Mar 27), as protesters oppose Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to the country.

Four people were killed on Friday after police opened fire after protesters allegedly attacked a police station in the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong during a demonstration against Modi's visit.

"We're aware that our services have been restricted in Bangladesh," Facebook said in a statement. "We're working to understand more and hope to have full access restored as soon as possible."

READ: Four shot dead in Bangladesh after anti-Modi protests turn violent

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not comment if it had blocked Facebook and its messenger, but it has previously used Internet shutdowns as a tool to curb the spread of protests.

Facebook also said it had serious concerns about the manner in which it was being restricted in Bangladesh at a time when effective communication was necessary to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Local hardline group Hefazat-e-Islam, meaning protection of Islam, has called for a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest the Chittagong killings. Hefazat and its supporters accuse Modi of alienating minority Muslims in India.

Modi landed in Dhaka on Friday for a two-day visit, his first international trip since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence.

He is due to hold formal talks with Hasina on Saturday.

Source: Reuters


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