Senegal’s government cuts internet access as MPs debate Bill on election delay
Senegal’s government on Monday restricted access to the mobile internet as opposition leaders and supporters launched protests against President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the February 25 presidential election over an electoral dispute.
The mobile internet access in the capital Dakar and other parts of the country was cut as federal politicians were set to debate a Bill that could extend Mr Sall’s tenure beyond April 2, when he is due to leave office.
The Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Economy said the internet was cut “due to the dissemination of several hateful and subversive messages relayed on social networks in the context of threats and disturbances to public order”.
The measure further deepens political tensions in one of Africa’s most stable democracies since Mr Sall’s decision on Saturday to postpone the crucial vote.
He cited a dispute between the judiciary and parliament over the disqualification of some candidates and the reported dual nationality of some qualified candidates.
The African Union urged the government to organise the election “as soon as possible” and called on everyone involved “to resolve any political dispute through consultation, understanding and civilised dialogue”.
Outside the legislature, security forces fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters who assembled to protest against the Bill.
Protesters also burned tyres and blocked access roads in Dakar. Several were arrested.
None of Senegal’s presidential elections has been postponed before. Opposition leaders condemned Mr Sall’s action as a “coup”.
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