Four Die During Protests in Senegal


The once peaceful Senegal is no more. Violence steered by opposition supporters had taken a toll on Wednesday after a court ruling that Sonko is held in custody. Ousmane Sonko, leader of the Pastef party and an influential opposition politician, has gained popularity and created rapport with the youth for his unending attacks on President Sall. During the 2019 elections, he came third to Sall, who was the winner.  News to detain him sparked mixed reactions from his supporters, who did not hesitate to stage protests.

Release Him

Release HimIt was on Wednesday when clashes broke out between Sonko’s enthusiasts and state officers. The accused, prominent opposition, was heading to court for a rape accusation when violence broke. Since back in time, Senegal hasn’t seen such a level of unrest and chaos. The West African state has been a beacon of stability, seldom experiencing riots.

During the protests, Sonko’s supporters were chanting in solidarity, demanding his release. In Dakar, hundreds of demonstrators were running in confusion as officers were chasing them away. They had barricaded roads with burning tires and hurling stones at the police. The city was in complete mayhem.

In main Blaise Diagne avenue, grenade, stones, cartridges, and debris were all over as protestors sang “Free Sonko.” Nevertheless, in Mbao, the situation was different as it was then that anonymous men took to looting stores within and out of the city. Sources confirmed that at least fourteen stores were looted that day.

His supporters called for further protests to coincide with his hearing on Friday, just if the judge decides to charge him. Fortunately, the court did not charge him on Friday though they expect him to show up on Monday for further questioning. His attorney, Etienne Ndione, told reporters that the court recently returned his client to custody over matters of disturbing public order. However, the public order case is to expire on Saturday.

UN Urges Peace

Clashes in Senegal have attracted the United Nations’ attention, who are now calling on the Senegalese Government to settle its political differences. The Organization’s Secretary-General urged the ruling and opposition parties to avoid any further surge in violence.

“The protests must remain peaceful, and the security and police forces must at all times operate in line with the International human rights standards,” said Antonio’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Minister for Interior Affairs, Felix Abdoulaye, told reporters that Sonko was responsible for the surging cases of conflicts in the country. He expressed regrets for the loss of four lives during the violence and urged people to remain calm.

Sonko undoubtedly dismissed the accusations and claimed that the ruling party was conspiring to sideline him from politics.


Are Media Targeted During the Clashes?

Reports alleged that some demonstrators attacked the daily Le Soleil and RFM radio station offices amid the protests. The latter belongs to a press company owned by singer Youssou Ndour. The two media houses were Government property.

Meanwhile, the Government also warned a particular media house from sharing explicit videos of unrest. Simultaneously, the regulatory authorities suspended the local tv channels for seventy-two hours and accused them of airing unrest images. Amnesty International also condemned the Senegalese Government for arresting oppositions. The rights group stated that the opponents were also free to express themselves in organized peaceful rallies.


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