Libya cuts off Internet service – network monitor

Reuters – February 19, 2011

Internet service has been cut off in Libya as protesters step up demonstrations against long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to a U.S. company that monitors Internet traffic.

Massachusetts-based Arbor Networks said data collected from 30 Internet providers around the world showed that online traffic in and out of Libya was disconnected abruptly at 7:15 p.m. EST on Friday (12:15 a.m. British time on Saturday).

The data also showed two partial service interruptions earlier in the day.

It was unclear if service was still unavailable.

Dozens of protesters were killed in clashes with Libyan security forces in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday, a witness said, in the worst unrest in Gaddafi’s four decades in power.

The Internet has been used in recent weeks by anti-government protesters in North Africa and the Middle East to help coordinate their demonstrations.

Egyptian authorities cut Internet service for a few days during a revolt that succeeded last week in toppling Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Eric Beech)

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