TikTok blocked in Senegal amidst crackdown on dissent

TikTok blocked in Senegal amidst crackdown on dissent
Photo by Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

The Senegalese government has suspended the use of TikTok until further notice. The reason for this decision is the spreading of "hateful and subversive" messages that followed the recent protests against the detention of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on Monday.
They had already cut off internet access on cell phones on Monday for the same reasons.

"It has been noted that the TikTok application is the social network preferred by ill-intentioned people to disseminate hateful and subversive messages threatening the stability of the country," said Moussa Bocar Thiam, Minister of Communication and the Digital Economy, in a statement.

The detention of Mr. Sonko on Monday, who was charged with inciting insurrection, has led to protests. Unfortunately, three deaths were reported in the southern region and suburbs of Dakar as a result.

On Tuesday, two individuals were killed in Dakar due to an incendiary device that targeted the bus they were riding in. At this time, there is no clear connection between the bus attack and the protest concerning Mr. Sonko's imprisonment.

Amnesty International denounced the restrictions on the Internet as "an attack on freedom of information" and called on the authorities to "restore the Internet".
Mr. Sonko, who is a declared candidate for the 2024 presidential elections, faces the possibility of five to 20 years in prison as a result of his third conviction, in addition to his previous two. This is according to legal experts.

In the 2019 presidential election, the politician came in third place. However, on June 1, they were sentenced to a two-year prison term in a separate case. The conviction led to significant unrest in Senegal, resulting in 16 deaths according to the authorities and approximately 30 according to the opposition. This was the most serious outbreak of unrest in the country for years.