In the country often referred to as Africa's North Korea, demonstrations are extremely rare. Today, student protest broke out in the capital and security forces responded by firing shots to disperse protesters. The authorities also appear to have cut the internet.

Nov 1, 2017

Rare protests broke out in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, with reports of shooting in the city on Tuesday.

Security forces responded by firing shots to disperse protesters, unverified video footage widely circulated on social media shows.

The protests were staged by students who were angered by government interference in the affairs of a community-funded Muslim school.

Information Minister Yemane Meskel downplayed reports of violence.

"Small demonstration by one school in Asmara dispersed without any causality hardly breaking news," he said in a tweet.

However, the US embassy in Asmara said it had received reports of gunfire in "several locations" on Tuesday.

The authorities also appear to have cut the internet in the wake of the unrest, as no messages are being received from people in the country, the BBC Tigrinya service's Tesfalem Araia says.