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Senegal Shuts Down Internet Amid Presidential Poll Postponement Protests

Senegal’s President Postpones Presidential Election

Senegalese government have temporarily cut off internet access in the country.

Gatekeepers News reports that this decision came after some citizens took to the streets to protest President Macky Sall’s postponement of the presidential election.

The country’s Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications, and Digital Economy, in a statement on Monday, said the internet disconnection was done “due to the dissemination of several hateful and subversive messages relayed on social networks in the context of threats and disturbances to public order.”

President Sall on Saturday, cited conflicts within the constitutional council, the body that screens candidates for the presidency of the country, as the reason for the postponement of the election.

The council also compiles the list of candidates and manages disagreements arising from the election of the president and members of the national assembly. It also declares the results of the votes.

Only 20 were approved of the over 200, leading to protests within political parties and citizens of the country who accused the council of selectively picking and shunning certain candidates.

Sall said in a national broadcast, “I will initiate an open national dialogue to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election in a peaceful and reconciled Senegal.”

The internet shutdown, which will be the third in Senegal in the last nine months, comes a day after a private television channel was cut off air after the government accused it of inciting violence in its coverage of the protests.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International, Senegal chapter, has condemned the government’s actions and urged the authorities to “respect freedom of the press and the rights of the citizens to be informed”.

On Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) asked Senegal to swiftly set a new date for the presidential election while underscoring the importance of democratic processes.

Opposition leaders had termed the election postponement as a “constitutional coup”.

However, while delivering his speech, Sall stressed that he would not be seeking a third term.

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