In response to protests against the re-election of President Azali Assoumani, authorities in Comoros have taken the drastic step of cutting off internet access. The unrest, triggered by the announcement of President Assoumani’s victory in Sunday’s election, has led to one reported fatality and six injuries as police clash with opposition supporters in the capital, Moroni.
The electoral commission declared that President Assoumani secured 63% of the vote, securing a fourth term. Opposition parties, disputing the results and alleging fraud, called for the cancellation of the election outcome, leading to violent protests. Buildings, including the home of a minister, were vandalized, looted, and burned.
To curb the unrest, a night-time curfew has been imposed, and roads in the capital have been barricaded. Internet services have been severely disrupted, with some sites inaccessible, and WhatsApp calls blocked. The intention appears to be preventing protesters from communicating and sharing information on social networks.
Health officials reported casualties, with six people admitted to the hospital, one in critical condition. A 21-year-old man was killed during the protests, possibly by gunfire, according to reports. Opposition officials characterised the protests as a spontaneous uprising against autocratic rule, emphasising solidarity with protesting youths.
Government spokesperson Houmed Msaidie asserted that the state would not yield to violence and identified known instigators. President Assoumani’s victory is expected to be confirmed by the Comoros’ Supreme Court over the weekend.