In response to widespread protests against President Macky Sall’s decision to indefinitely postpone the upcoming presidential election, the Senegalese government has temporarily cut mobile internet access. Communication Minister Moussa Bocar Thiam emphasized the need for such measures to curb the spread of “hateful and subversive messages” circulating on social networks during a period of potential public order disturbances.
President Sall announced the unexpected postponement just hours before the official start of campaigning, marking the first time a Senegalese presidential election has been delayed. The decision arose from a disagreement between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court regarding the rejection of certain candidates.
The Economic Community of West African States has expressed concerns about the delay, and today, lawmakers are set to discuss a proposed bill suggesting rescheduling the presidential election for August 25. The bill also proposes allowing President Sall to remain in office until his successor is officially sworn in.
Protests have erupted, with demonstrators chanting slogans like “Macky Sall dictator” outside the parliament. Security forces dispersed the protesters, who are reportedly being mobilized by opposition figures. Former Prime Minister and opposition candidate Aminata Touré, who was arrested during Sunday’s protest, has called for mobilization to defend democracy and opposed the election postponement. Another opposition candidate, Daouda Ndiaye, claimed to have been attacked by the police and stressed the importance of holding the election on the originally scheduled date of February 25.
The hashtag #FreeSenegal is currently trending on social media platforms, reflecting the online mobilization against the government’s actions and the postponement of the presidential election.