Senegal has restricted social media and messaging systems following riots over the imprisonment of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
Sonko supporters battled with police in multiple locations on Thursday, killing at least nine people.
Sonko was not in court when he was sentenced to two years in prison for immoral behavior but was cleared of rape accusations.
The justice minister stated that he may be detained anytime, and police have surrounded his house in the capital.
His supporters fear the conviction would preclude the 48-year-old lawmaker from running in next year’s presidential election.
Hundreds of officers are preventing his supporters from visiting his home in Dakar, and even his lawyers have been unable to visit him.
Sonko’s Pastef party urged people to “take to the streets” after the court issued its decision on Thursday.
Interior Minister Antoine Félix Diome claimed the government had implemented limits on social media to prevent the “dissemination of hate and subversive messages.”
People are outraged about the change, which affects major programs such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Telegram, TikTok, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
They can be accessed using a virtual private network (VPN), but not everyone is aware of how such software works.
Several districts in the capital saw fights, with police firing tear gas while vehicles burnt and black smoke billowed over the area.
Many establishments closed, and some remained closed on Friday.
Sonko is the mayor of the southern city of Ziguinchor.
Sonko is immensely popular among unemployed youth and has experienced a spectacular political climb in recent years.
After being fired as a tax inspector in 2016, he was elected to parliament and appointed mayor of Ziguinchor.
The government has denied that the prosecution against the opposition leader, as well as others he has faced, was politically motivated.
In 2021, he was accused of sexually abusing and threatening a massage therapist at a beauty parlor, which he rejected.
The idea that President Macky Sall intends to continue in office for an illegitimate third term adds to the political tension, despite the fact that he has made no such declaration.