A somewhat similar thing happened during the CDN media blackout of the trial of the infamous Carla Homolka. There was a complete media blackout in Canada, and suddenly a newsgroup which Paul Vixie had newgrouped for me back when I was feeling a bit blue (alt.fan.shedevil) was taken over by a bunch of Canadians desparate for news of what was going on, and a place to talk about it, and which was beyond the reach of the CDN authorities.
Wow..it's still archived in Google groups!:
(URL redirected because the Google url is so darned long.)