Senegal cuts internet again amid widening crackdown on dissent

Senegal cut mobile internet access on Tuesday ahead of a banned march against the postponement of a presidential election, and rights groups accused the authorities of using overly repressive tactics to stifle widespread opposition to the delay.The abrupt postponement of the Feb. 25 vote to December has plunged Senegal into crisis and intensified a backlash against what many see as an attempt to extend President Macky Sall's mandate and a threat to one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa.
After deadly clashes between protesters and police late last week, the government refused to permit a silent march planned by activist groups for Tuesday and ordered mobile operators to suspend internet access.
In a statement, the communications ministry said the suspension was necessary because hateful and subversive online messages had provoked the previous unrest.
Internet monitor Netblocks said: "The incident underscores the growing use of mass censorship in the country."
The U.N. human rights office and Amnesty International accused the authorities of disregarding fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression and using excessive force against protesters.

HubertManne avatar

I would think cutting of internet would just result in more protesters showing up.

livus avatar

@HubertManne Cutting off the internet achieves two goals, one is to reduce protestors' coordination abilities.

But the more sinister one is to enable authorities to take harsher actions without immediate scrutiny. If a bunch of people die in this blackout it won't be the first time that happens in the region.

It's not usual for Senegal though. Change might be in the air.

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