Tensions are rising in Senegal whilst President Macky Sall may vie for a controversial third time period – that the opposition says is unconstitutional – within the 2024 election.
About 5,000 supporters of Senegalese opposition chief Ousmane Sonko gathered within the capital, Dakar, on Tuesday for a three-day protest to point out help for the aspiring presidential candidate, who faces a libel case set to renew this week.
The demonstrations are the newest expression of rising tensions in Senegal within the run-up to a 2024 election that would see President Macky Sall vie for a controversial third time period, which the opposition says is unconstitutional.
Sall, 61, has neither confirmed nor denied that he plans to run, amid widespread hypothesis. The ballot would pit him in opposition to Sonko, who got here third within the 2019 presidential elections and has since gained help, notably amongst disillusioned city youth.
A whole bunch of Sonko supporters milled round an empty discipline in Dakar’s Yoff neighbourhood on Tuesday ready for the demonstration to kick off. Some waved Senegalese flags and images of Sonko.
There was a heavy safety presence, together with dozens of anti-riot automobiles.
Police are fast to crack down on protests in Senegal. The final pro-Sonko protests, which broke out after he left court docket final month, had been dispersed with tear gasoline.
“We’re sick of this repression, nobody can protest in Senegal. Macky (Sall) can’t be a candidate,” stated Codou, a protester who travelled from the close by metropolis of Thies.
Sall’s opponents accuse him of searching for to weaken the competitors with false accusations and political trials earlier than the election. The federal government denies this.
Sonko, 48, is due in court docket on Thursday to renew hearings for a trial on libel expenses for allegedly accusing the minister of tourism of embezzlement.
He’s additionally going through trial on expenses of rape and making loss of life threats to a magnificence salon worker in 2021. Sonko denies wrongdoing.
Senegal has lengthy been seen as a beacon of democracy in West Africa. However critics have turn into pissed off with Sall’s crackdown on dissent and his perceived failure to enhance financial livelihoods for almost all of individuals.
At protests in June 2022, cries of “Macky Sall is a dictator” rang out in Dakar as residents referred to as out the wide-ranging powers vested within the presidency, and the yearslong sample of political opposition being stymied, at all times on seemingly technical grounds.
The ensuing crackdown on the protests earned rebukes from the United Nations particular rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceable Meeting in addition to Amnesty Worldwide, which in an announcement said that arbitrary arrests together with “repeated bans on demonstrations, along with the deaths of individuals throughout such protests, symbolize an actual risk to the precise to protest in Senegal”.
Lethal clashes broke out throughout the nation in 2021 when Sonko was arrested over sexual assault allegations.