Senegal suspends mobile internet, bans protest amid presidential poll delay

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Additionally, authorities have banned a peaceful rally organised by the Aar Sunu Election collective, citing concerns over potential traffic disruptions.

Senegalese authorities have suspended mobile internet and banned a planned march protesting the delay of this month’s presidential election, triggering international concern from the United Nations.

The decision to suspend mobile internet and prohibit a scheduled demonstration comes amid violent protests following President Macky Sall‘s postponement of the February 25 presidential election, plunging Senegal into one of its most severe crises in decades.

Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the United Nations rights office, expressed deep concern about the escalating tensions in Senegal, particularly the reported use of unnecessary and disproportionate force against protesters and restrictions on civic space.

Throssell called on Senegalese authorities to uphold democracy and respect human rights, urging them to address the grievances of the populace.

In response to the unrest, Senegalese authorities have suspended mobile internet access for the second time this month, citing the dissemination of subversive hate messages on social media platforms that have incited violent demonstrations.

The decision to cut access to mobile data has been condemned by rights activists, who view it as a violation of freedom of expression and a tactic to suppress mobilisation and communication via social networks.

Additionally, authorities have banned a peaceful rally organised by the Aar Sunu Election collective, citing concerns over potential traffic disruptions.

While the collective has opted to postpone the march to comply with the law, the move reflects ongoing tensions between the government and opposition groups regarding the handling of the electoral process.

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President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the election was met with opposition from various quarters, including civil society organisations and opposition parties, who view it as an attempt to extend Sall’s term in office.

Despite assurances from Sall that he will not seek reelection, suspicions persist among the opposition regarding the government’s motives behind the electoral delay.

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