Photo: Guy Peterson Agence France-Presse On Friday, Senegal was shaken by a large-scale protest, repressed by the security forces. They dispersed the slightest gathering by firing tear gas.
Adrien Marotte – Agence France-Presse in Dakar
February 11, 2024
A 16-year-old high school student was killed while demonstrating in southern Senegal, bringing to three the number of deaths in the country since the start of protests over the surprise postponement of the presidential election.
Landing Camara, known as Diedhiou, died Saturday evening from his injuries at the regional hospital in Ziguinchor, stronghold of imprisoned opponent Ousmane Sonko, where clashes between groups of young people and security forces continued on Saturday.
In a message posted on social media, the United States Embassy in Senegal offered its condolences to the families and friends of the victims. “We urge all parties to act in a peaceful and measured manner, and we continue to call on President Sall to restore the electoral calendar, restore confidence and calm the situation,” she said.< /p>
“The European Union (EU) presents its condolences to the loved ones of the deceased and calls on the authorities to guarantee fundamental freedoms,” reacted on X Nabila Massrali, spokesperson for the head of the EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
On February 3, Macky Sall took everyone by surprise by postponing the elections three weeks before the vote, a decision ratified by the National Assembly which voted to postpone the electoral deadline until the 15 December, after having forcibly expelled the opposition deputies.
- Mobilization in Senegal against the indefinite postponement of the presidential election
- The Senegalese Parliament adopts the law to postpone the presidential election until December 15, 2024
- One dead during violently dispersed demonstrations in Senegal
The Assembly also voted to maintain Mr. Sall in power until his successor takes office, probably in early 2025. His second term officially expired on April 2.
On Friday, the entire country was shaken by a large-scale protest, repressed by the security forces. They dispersed the slightest gathering by firing tear gas.
The majority of cities regained calm on Saturday, including Dakar, the capital. But in Ziguinchor, capital of Casamance, the clashes continued, pitting dozens of young people, sometimes very young people, who formed roadblocks and threw stones at the security forces.
“A young person received a projectile on the head and died of his injuries in the intensive care unit yesterday evening,” a hospital official told AFP on Sunday, requesting anonymity.
This source initially claimed that the deceased was 19 years old, but an identity document of the boy sent to AFP indicates that he was 16.
“There were several serious injuries during the protests and one died. He was shot in the head,” Abdou Sané, coordinator of the Pastef opposition party in Ziguinchor, told AFP. The boy was a high school student, he said.
An investigation was also opened after the death on Friday of a 22-year-old geography student in Saint-Louis (north) in circumstances that are still unclear. A street vendor also succumbed to his injuries on Saturday in Dakar, victim according to his relatives of a police shooting the day before.
The postponement of the presidential election sparked widely shared indignation on social networks, with the opposition calling for a “constitutional coup d’état”.
Senegal's international partners have expressed their concern and called for elections to be held as quickly as possible.
On Saturday, the mobilization extended to the diaspora, with demonstrations which attracted a few thousand people to Paris and Berlin.
On Sunday, at Notre Dame des Anges parish in Ouakam, Dakar, as in other churches, the priest who officiated mass said that the political situation “affected” and “worried” all Senegalese.
The repression of the demonstrations aroused the indignation of the opposition.
“We call the regional and international community to witness, in the face of the excesses of this dying power,” declared Khalifa Sall, one of the main presidential candidates.
The coalition of anti-system candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who received the support of Ousmane Sonko, denounced “the brutality of the security forces who carried out unprecedented violence”.
She welcomed “the efforts” of civil society and political actors to “block the constitutional coup d’état” of President Sall and maintain the presidential election on February 25.
A new protest launched by a civil society collective, Aar Sunu Election (“Let’s Protect Our Election”), is planned for Tuesday.
Faced with repression, “we need a strategy of citizen struggle. Civil disobedience is a weapon that we will use to bring this country to a standstill and restore constitutional legality,” Malick Diop, coordinator of this collective, told AFP.