Ethiopia restricts social media amid Orthodox church row

Ethiopia restricts social media amid Orthodox church row

Ethiopia has limited access to social media and messaging platforms amid mounting tensions between the authorities and the Orthodox church, local media reported.

Netblocks, an organisation that monitors freedom of access to the internet, said the restrictions impacted Facebook, Messenger, Telegram and TikTok.

This comes after the church’s highest body, or the synod, defied a ban by authorities and announced it would go ahead with planned protest rallies.

Schools were closed on Friday following a directive by the authorities.

The Orthodox Church, the country’s largest religious denomination, accuses the government of backing a breakaway faction in Oromia region, the reports said.

The breakaway clergy accuse the church of maintaining a system of linguistic and cultural hegemony in which congregations in Oromia are not served in their native languages. The church denies the accusation.

Both factions have vowed to push ahead with planned rallies to be held in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia has previously been accused by rights groups of blocking access to internet.

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