The horrific Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were a start reminder to the world that ISIS and likeminded terrorist organizations are still very much a threat to world peace.
The coordinated attacks have now claimed over 300 lives after near-simultaneous bombings occurred at churches across Sri Lanka and is believed to be the work of radical Islamic terrorists.
In response to the bombings, and in an effort to quell any further violence, Sri Lankan officials effectively shut down the nation’s social media networks – an overreach that has freedom advocates everywhere up in arms.
The block on social media including Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services was announced by the government’s official news portal, which cited the spread of “false news reports” online. The NetBlocks observatory said it detected an intentional blackout of the popular platforms as well as YouTube, Snapchat and Viber. Twitter appeared unaffected.
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New reports also show that the Sri Lankan military has been granted a slew of new powers as well.
Sri Lanka’s president gave the military sweeping police powers starting Tuesday in the wake of the Easter bombings that killed nearly 300 people, while officials disclosed that intelligence agencies had warned weeks ago of the possibility of an attack by the radical Muslim group blamed for the bloodshed.
As the Sri Lankans grieve, the rest of the world is keeping a close eye on these developments, however.
Establishing this precedent of authoritarian control is worrisome enough, but to use such an unfathomable tragedy to do so is downright despicable. Those emotionally effected by the bombings are in no state to properly rebuke their government’s overreach, and future totalitarians will be able to draw on this example in their future conquests.
The road to recovery in Sri Lanka will be a long one, and the world must be diligent so that it doesn’t swerve into tyranny.
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