Clashes between security forces and demonstrators left nine dead on Thursday, while President Macky Sall’s opponent is threatened with ineligibility a few months before the next presidential election.
A court decision that causes a new bloody crisis in Senegal. The country experienced clashes on Thursday, June 1, between supporters of political opponent Ousmane Sonko and the security forces. These clashes, which left nine dead, occur after the sentence to two years in prison for this 2024 presidential candidate, fierce opponent of the Senegalese president, Macky Sall. Here’s what you need to know about the situation.
Violence between police and demonstrators…
Clashes erupted in Senegal on Thursday, particularly in the capital, Dakar, as well as in Ziguinchor, in the south of the country. The report drawn up by the Minister of the Interior, Antoine Diome, reports nine dead. During this day of insurrection, groups of young people notably clashed with the police at the University of Dakar, which had become a battlefield.
Several buses from the medical school, the history department and the country’s main journalism school were also set on fire and offices ransacked. In response, the autonomous union of higher education (SAES) condemned “firmly” the ransacking of universities and called on the state to “to fully play its role of guarantor of individual and collective freedoms”, reports the Senegalese Press Agency (APS).
Many roads in the country have also been blocked and the circulation of certain public transport has was interrupted, according to RFI. After noticing “drifts” And “the dissemination of hateful and subversive messages”, authorities, who have appealed for calm, have restricted access to social media in the country.
… after the conviction of opponent Ousmane Sonko
The violence erupted on Thursday after opponent Ousmane Sonko, 48, a candidate for the 2024 presidential election, was sentenced to two years in prison. for “corruption of youth”, an offense which consists in favoring the “debauchery” of a young person under 21 years of age.
The political opponent was accused of rape and death threats against an employee of a beauty salon, Adji Sarr, where he was going to have a massage between 2020 and 2021. He was however acquitted by the criminal chamber of the Dakar court for these two counts, details theAPS.
“My client, like me, is not completely satisfied, she would have liked Ousmane Sonko to be sentenced to the expected sentence as soon as sexual contact is not rejected”, reacted the young woman’s lawyer, Me El hadji Diouf, reports the Senegalese media The Daily.
A call to demonstrate launched by Ousmane Sonko, who says he is “sequestered”
After this judgment on Thursday, the national office of Pastef, the party of Ousmane Sonko, denounced a “plot hatched by Macky Sall and his henchmen” and called “the Senegalese people” To “go out in the street”while asking “law enforcement and the army to get on his side”.
During the night of Monday to Tuesday, the political opponent, who was not present at his trial, broke his silence. He says to himself “held captive” and called on his compatriots to demonstrate “massively”. Ousmane Sonko has reportedly been blocked at his home in Dakar by security forces since Sunday. He can now be stopped “at any time”according to the Minister of Justice, Ismaïla Madior Fall.
Possible ineligibility, nine months before the presidential election
The outcome of this trial is very political since the conviction of Ousmane Sonko could lead to his ineligibility, thus preventing him from standing for the next presidential election, scheduled for February 25, 2024. His eligibility had already been jeopardized by a recent six-month suspended prison sentence for defaming a minister.
“Let all Senegalese know it: Ousmane Sonko can no longer be a candidate”, said one of his advisers, lawyer Bamba Cissé. If it is recorded, this ineligibility could pave the way for a controversial third term for Macky Sall. Before him, two other competitors of the outgoing president, Khalifa Sall (unrelated), convicted of embezzlement of public funds, and Karim Wade, convicted of illicit enrichment, have seen their trajectory interrupted by court cases in recent years.
Already deadly clashes in 2021
Since February 2021, when the case began, most of Ousmane Sonko’s appointments with the justice system have resulted in incidents and clashes. In March 2021, his arrest on the way to court where he was going in motorcade helped spark the worst riots in years. Fourteen people were then killed, including twelve following bullets from the defense and security forces, according to the report drawn up by several NGOs, including Amnesty International.
Source: France TV Info