Senegal has shut down access to the Internet, beginning today, Monday, July 31, 2023. The country's communications minister, Moussa Bocar Thiam, made this known in a statement, while directing telecommunications companies to "comply with the notified requirements."
This is the second time the West African country has restricted access to the Internet, with the last coming in June 2023. Both times, the decision has followed protests regarding opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko.
Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison in June for "corrupting the youths." The decision sparked violent protests across the country, leading to the deaths of 15 people.
Sonko was arrested on Friday, July 28, 2023. The state prosecutor swiftly charged him with calling for insurrection, undermining state security, criminal association with a terrorist body, and theft. These charges, the state prosecutor said, are unconnected to the previous charges of corrupting Senegal's youth.
In response, Sonko has embarked on a hunger strike to protest the decision, which he claims is intended to prevent him from contesting in next year's presidential elections.