Egyptian authorities have blocked 34,000 websites ahead of a planned vote on constitutional amendments which would allow President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030, NetBlocks, a civil society group concerned with digital freedom, has revealed.
The authorities’ crackdown is believed to be mainly directed at a campaign that gathers signatures against the amendments under the slogan batel (void). The website gathered 25,000 signatures before it was blocked, NetBlocks’s website reported.
“Internet providers in Egypt are blocking access to an estimated 34,000 internet domains in an apparent bid to stamp out an opposition campaign launched last week under the slogan batel, according to new NetBlocks internet measurement data,” the website added.
The blocked websites include “prominent technology start-ups, self-help websites, celebrity homepages, dozens of Open Source technology projects, as well as Bahai, Jewish and Islamic faith group websites and NGOs.”
Al-Sisi carried out a bloody coup against the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi’s government in 2013 and has allowed the army to take control of most state institutions.