In response to the reported deaths among protestors following the sentencing of Sonko, Senegal has taken the decision to shut down social media services.
Following the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, a wave of social unrest has led to the blocking of various social media and messaging platforms in Senegal.
On Thursday, there were clashes between police and individuals supporting Sonko in various cities, resulting in the death of a minimum of nine people.
Despite being cleared of rape allegations, Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison for violating moral standards, although he was absent from court during the ruling.
The minister of justice declared that he is at risk of being apprehended, and law enforcement officers have cordoned off his residence in the city.
The followers of the politician are concerned that the verdict may prohibit him, a 48-year-old candidate, from participating in the upcoming presidential election.
Numerous officials are obstructing his backers from accessing his residence in Dakar, and even his legal representatives are unable to meet him.
Sonko’s party, Pastef, urged the public to hold protests after the court’s ruling was issued on Thursday.
The dissemination of hate and dangerous messaging was the catalyst for the government’s decision to place limitations on social media, as stated by Interior Minister Antoine Félix Diome.
The relocation is causing dissatisfaction among individuals due to its impact on well-liked applications such as YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook.
Although virtual private networks (VPN) provide access, many individuals may not be knowledgeable about this type of software and its functionality.
There were clashes in various areas of the capital, with some of the most severe clashes taking place at the university campus in the city center. The police used tear gas as cars burned, causing black smoke to fill the area.
On Friday, a number of businesses shut down while others continued to remain closed.
Ziguinchor, the city in the south that Sonko governs, was also plagued with episodes of violence.
In recent years, Sonko has experienced a rapid ascent in politics and gained significant popularity among young adults who are without employment.
Following his termination as a tax inspector in 2016, he secured a parliamentary seat and subsequently assumed the mayoral position in Ziguinchor.
The administration has refuted claims that the charges against the opposition leader, as well as previous ones he has encountered, were driven by political motives.
In 2021, he was alleged to have sexually assaulted and made threatening remarks to a massage therapist at a beauty salon, an accusation which he refuted.
The political atmosphere is unsettled due to speculation that President Macky Sall aims to defy the constitution by seeking a third term, despite not confirming these allegations.