Social media blocked as Liberians protest 'corruption and creeping dictatorship'

Demonstrators in Monrovia, Liberia, during an anti-government march to protest inflation and corruption.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Thousands of Liberians gathered in the capital Monrovia Friday to protest "corruption and creeping dictatorship" in the country.

Social media sites were later blocked to quell the protests, according to the internet monitoring platform NetBlocks.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Google's Gmail service and the website of The Associated Press were among the sites affected, NetBlocks said.
    Bai Sama G. Best, managing director of Liberia's Daily Observer newspaper, told CNN most journalists and some citizens are using virtual private networks (VPN) to bypass the restrictions.
    Liberia's Minister of Information Eugene Nagbe confirmed that social media platforms were shutdown temporarily because of "security concerns."
    "We have restored some of them," he said. "We are not saying that the protesters were carrying out things detrimental to the nation, but the national security apparatus said there were threats to the country and the services were temporarily disrupted and have been restored."
    The protests were organized by a group called the Council of Patriots, which says it is a conglomeration of citizens, civil society activists, youth workers and major political parties.
    Protesters presented a petition to delegates from the government of President George Weah, who has been in office for just over one year.
    The document stated that Liberians are suffering "harsh economic conditions being caused ... and encouraged by bad governance, deliberate and wanton collapse of integrity systems..."
    "We have come to say no to bad governance, abuse of power, corruption and creeping dictatorship," said Henry Costa, one of the leader of the protesters, via a WhatsApp message to CNN.