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Senegal Erupts in Protests, With a Rape Charge Only the Spark

Senegal Erupts in Protests, With a Rape Charge Only the Spark
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Senegal Erupts in Protests, With a Rape Charge Only the Spark

Senegal Erupts in Protests, With a Rape Charge Only the Spark

DAKAR, Senegal — Probably the most widespread demonstrations in Senegal in years continued for the third day on Friday, an expression of anger at the president, Macky Sall, and outrage at the arrest of the nation’s main opposition determine, who has been accused of rape.

In Dakar, the capital, crowds of younger folks threw stones at the police, who had been firing tear fuel. In the residential neighborhood of Medina, a police van accelerated into a cluster of protesters, nearly working them over. In Ngor, a fishing village abutting the metropolis’s fanciest district, protesters lit fires in the streets.

One individual died on Thursday when safety forces used dwell ammunition on protesters in Bignona, a city in the nation’s south, in line with the human rights group Amnesty Worldwide.

The arrest of the opposition chief, Ousmane Sonko, on Wednesday was the set off for Senegalese younger folks, lots of whom help Mr. Sonko, to take to the streets. Mr. Sonko, who got here in third in the 2019 presidential elections, has been accused of raping a younger girl who labored in a therapeutic massage parlor.

However protesters on Friday aired a vary of grievances: few job alternatives, pandemic-induced financial hardship and a president that they noticed as smug, incompetent and dictatorial. “We’re so drained,” mentioned Coumba Traoré, a younger businesswoman rising from the demonstration downtown, noting particularly her frustration with the 9 p.m. curfew imposed to curb the pandemic.

The younger girl accusing Mr. Sonko of rape appeared in a closed courtroom listening to final month, however her case has not been adjudicated. Mr. Sonko denies the cost.

Protesters see the case as a part of a sample of the authorities eliminating political opponents.

At stake, they are saying, is the nation’s hard-won democracy.

That was how the present president, Macky Sall, got here to energy in 2012: A youth motion thwarted the efforts of his predecessor to hunt a third time period.

However after 9 years with Mr. Sall in energy, “a deep disaster in our democracy” was uncovered this week, Felwine Sarr, a the Senegalese historian, wrote, including that the occasion “boasts of being exemplary, by all the time evaluating itself to much less profitable ones on the continent.”

Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré, a well-known rapper also referred to as Thiat, mentioned in a televised debate on Wednesday, “Nothing is working in this nation, whereas they preserve giving us political speeches.”

He was co-founder of the group Y’en a Marre (We’re Fed Up), which was instrumental in bringing Mr. Sall to energy. However Mr. Touré was arrested on Friday in the protests and, in line with the Y’en a Marre Fb group, violently overwhelmed.

Two tv stations, Sen TV and Walf TV, had been taken off the air, accused by the authorities of calling for an rebellion by displaying pictures of rebel.

Protesters assaulted on Thursday the buildings that home two different media organizations, RFM and Le Soleil, each perceived as being pro-government.

Mr. Sonko was arrested on Wednesday on his solution to courtroom. His convoy was stopped and the police requested him to take a completely different route. When he refused, he was arrested.

Amnesty Worldwide mentioned that Mr. Sonko was arrested arbitrarily, and referred to as on the authorities to cease arresting opponents and activists.

Throughout Mr. Sall’s tenure, two of his main opponents, a mayor of Dakar and the son of the final president, have additionally been arrested and jailed.

Mr. Sonko’s supporters say that the Senegalese president is behind his arrest and the rape costs. They are saying he’s making an attempt to stop one among his largest political challengers from working in the subsequent election, in 2024.

“That’s why he’s doing all this,” mentioned Serigne Fallou Sarr, a biology pupil out protesting on Friday in Dakar.

He mentioned he had no thought whether or not the rape allegations had been true.

The voice of the girl who accused Mr. Sonko has been drowned out in a sea of accusations and conspiracy theories.

The girl, a younger masseuse who mentioned Mr. Sonko additionally threatened to kill her, advised the police that the politician, who has admitted that he was a frequent customer to the therapeutic massage parlor at which she labored, incessantly requested her for intercourse and when she refused, strangled and raped her.

The president denied having something to do with the rape allegations in an interview with France24 tv, aired earlier than this week’s protests.

“We mustn’t combine the president up in issues that don’t concern him,” he mentioned, referring to himself in the third individual. “I believe I’ve sufficient issues to do with out plotting such low issues.”

Mr. Sall has not commented on stories that he may run for a third time period, which his opponents say would violate the structure.

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