Internet Shut Down Amid Protests Over Senegal’s Poll Delay

Internet Shut Down Amid Protests Over Senegal’s Poll Delay

Mobile internet services have been temporarily suspended in Senegal as protests erupt following President Macky Sall’s announcement of an indefinite postponement of the presidential election.

President Sall cited a dispute with the candidates list as the reason for delaying the elections originally scheduled for February 25, 2024. He signed a decree abolishing the previous November 2023 measure that set the election date after the Constitutional Council excluded some prominent opposition members from the list of candidates.

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The government announced the internet shutdown a day after hundreds protested against President Sall’s decision to postpone the election. Communication Minister Moussa Bocar Thiam stated that the shutdown was due to “hateful and subversive messages relayed on social networks in a context of threats of disturbances to public order.”

The shutdown follows the removal of a private television channel from the airwaves for allegedly inciting violence in its coverage of the protests. Amnesty International has condemned the decision, urging Senegalese authorities to respect freedom of the press and citizens’ right to information.

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Lawmakers have discussed the possibility of rescheduling the presidential vote for August 25 and keeping President Sall in power until his successor is inaugurated. Opposition candidate Aminata Touré, a former Prime Minister, confirmed her release after being arrested during Sunday’s protest.

Concerns have arisen that President Sall’s decision to postpone the election may be aimed at ensuring victory for his preferred candidate, as the opposition was poised to gain power.

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