Wikipedia the latest battleground in Lebanon's protests

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Lebanon's parliament in session. Activists on Monday managed to change a section heading of the Wikipedia page “Parliament of Lebanon” to “Lebanese Robbery.” (AFP/File Photo)
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The page before being "vandalized," as malicious editing of Wikipedia pages is known. (Screenshot)
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The page after being "vandalized," as malicious editing of Wikipedia pages is known. (Screenshot)
Updated 12 November 2019

Wikipedia the latest battleground in Lebanon's protests

  • Web users edited the ‘Parliament of Lebanon’ Wikipedia page several times
  • Wikipedia’s editorial team has locked a section of that page

LONDON: Lebanon’s anti-government protesters have taken their battle from the streets of Beirut to the pages of one of the world’s most viewed websites.

Activists on Monday managed to change a section heading of the Wikipedia page “Parliament of Lebanon” to “Lebanese Robbery.”

Within a couple of minutes, Wikipedia’s editing team had reverted the page back to its original title stating that they were “reverting vandalism.” 

However, a cat and mouse game began thereafter and the web user operating from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, kept changing the title to “Lebanese Robbery” as the Wikipedia team kept reverting it back to its original name.

 

 After about six minutes, the section was locked by a senior Wikipedia editor to “protect ‘Parliament of Lebanon’ from disruptive editing,” according to the page’s revision history.

The section has been locked until Nov. 25.

Lebanon has been plunged into political and economic turmoil by a wave of protests that erupted on Oct. 17.

“Vandalism” of Wikipedia pages is common involving celebrities, sports events and entertainment, but it is rare for a major change on a page related to a highly sensitive political issue to remain unnoticed for more than a minute.

Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia that relies upon a community of volunteer users to create and curate the content.

The demonstrations in Lebanon against corruption, the ruling elite and the sectarian system of governance, led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The protests have also led to the biggest financial crisis faced by the country since its civil war.


India shuts down Internet in hotspot after deadly protests

Updated 13 December 2019

India shuts down Internet in hotspot after deadly protests

  • Protests erupted this week after the government introduced new legislation that many in the far-flung northeast believe will give citizenship to immigrants
  • On Friday morning thousands gathered in central Guwahati as riot police looked on

GUWAHATI: Internet access was cut in India’s northeastern city of Guwahati on Friday as thousands gathered for fresh protests against a new citizenship law, a day after police shot dead two demonstrators.
Protests erupted this week after the government introduced new legislation that many in the far-flung northeast believe will give citizenship to immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, and which other critics say is anti-Muslim.
On Friday morning thousands gathered in central Guwahati as riot police looked on, with residents hurrying out to buy essentials.
No fresh violence was reported but Guwahati and other areas remained littered from the detritus of recent days, with some roads blocked by fallen trees, concrete poles, stones and iron railings. Many cash machines have run out of cash and most petrol stations were also shut.
A local government official said that Internet access in the Guwahati, the main city of Assam state, had been cut and an AFP reporter confirmed that connections appeared to have been suspended.
The Meghalaya state government has also cut off mobile Internet, with parts of the capital Shillong brought under curfew since Thursday evening.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was planning to scrap a visit to the city due to begin on Sunday as the security situation deteriorated, media reported Friday. The Japanese leader had been slated to hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Thursday, police had fired live and blank rounds as thousands of demonstrators in Guwahati and elsewhere took to the streets, some vandalising property and torching vehicles.
The two demonstrators killed in the city were among around 20 people being treated in hospital, “a few” of whom had gunshot wounds, said Ramen Talukdar, a doctor at a Guwahati hospital.
Hundreds of passengers stuck at Guwahati airport were brought to the city on government buses with police escort in the early hours of Friday morning.
Several thousand troops have been drafted in to help police, who fired tear gas and charged demonstrators with batons, in recent days.
Security was increased at the Bangladeshi consulate in Guwahati after a vehicle in the consul’s convoy was attacked Wednesday by mobs, the foreign ministry in Dhaka said.
“They cant settle anyone in our motherland. This is unacceptable. We will die but not allow outsiders to settle here,” Manav Das, a protester told AFP on Friday.
“We will defeat the government with the force of the people and the government will be forced to revoke the law,” said local activist Samujal Battacharya.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), signed into law by the Indian president late Thursday, allows for the fast-tracking of applications from religious minorities from three neighboring countries, but not Muslims.
For Islamic groups, the opposition and rights groups, it is part of Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda to marginalize India’s 200 million Muslims. He denies this.
The US State Department on Thursday urged India to “protect the rights of its religious minorities,” according to Bloomberg.
But many in India’s northeast object for different reasons, fearing that immigrants from Bangladesh — many of them Hindus — will become citizens, taking jobs and weakening the local culture.
The chief ministers of the states of Punjab in the north and Kerala in the south also said that they would not implement the law, the Hindu daily reported.
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