Senegalese authorities suspend TikTok app

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Senegalese authorities suspended the TikTok application on Wednesday until “further notice” due to the dissemination of “hateful and subversive” messages following protests against the imprisonment of opposition figure 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.

Mr Sonko’s detention on Monday on various charges, including calling for insurrection, provoked protests.

Three people were killed in the south of the country and in the suburbs of Dakar.

Two other people were killed on Tuesday in Dakar in an incendiary device attack on the bus they were travelling in, without any clear link being established between the bus attack and the protest against, Sonko’s imprisonment.

On Monday, Amnesty International denounced the restrictions on the Internet as “an attack on freedom of information” and called on the authorities to “restore the Internet”.

With this third procedure, which comes on top of two other convictions, Mr Sonko, a declared candidate in the 2024 presidential elections, risks, according to legal experts, five to 20 years in prison.

The politician, who came third in the 2019 presidential election, was sentenced on 1st June, in another case to two years in prison.

His conviction sparked the most serious unrest in years in Senegal, which left sixteen people dead according to the authorities, and around thirty according to the opposition.

Africanews/Hauwa M.