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SOPA blackouts inspired protest around the world

January 19, 2012 |  1:08 pm

Internet strike worldwide

Millions of Americans responded to the historic SOPA and PIPA blackouts implemented by thousands of websites both large and small Wednesday, but Americans weren't the only ones moved to action.

The whole world was watching, and the whole world chimed in.

On Wednesday, activist website Avaaz, which has a worldwide member base of more than 10 million, asked its members to sign a petition from "concerned global citizens" urging members of Congress to vote against both PIPA and the SOPA.

"The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want," the petition read. "We urge you to show true global leadership and do all you can to protect this basic pillar of our democracies worldwide."

PHOTO: Sites gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills

On Thursday, Avaaz reports that 1.8 million from 141 countries around the world signed its petition. The petition did especially well in Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Canada and Mexico, but people in Jamaica, Morocco and Malaysia also lent their voices.

Here's a breakdown of some of the countries with the most signees.

USA: 211,158

Spain: 136,664

Brazil: 131,662

Germany: 128,523

Britain: 121,333

France: 110,968

Mexico: 107,485

Canada: 101,343

Argentina: 88,726

Netherlands: 29,746

South Africa: 17,953

Even those who have not been inspired to sign petitions are still paying close attention to the debate. The BBC reports that the debate over SOPA and PIPA in Congress and on the Web is being carefully observed in Britain by people who fall on both sides of the issue.

Some bloggers in China, where Internet censorship is the norm, had a more humorous take on the day of protest.

The Relevant Organs, an anonymous Twitter account (presumably) pretending to be the voice of the Chinese Communist Party leadership, quipped: "Don't understand the hoopla over Wikipedia blackout in the U.S. today. We blacked it out here years ago. Where are OUR hugs?"


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-- Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen shot of's homepage the day the Internet went on strike.