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Pre-election violence kills two in Senegal





Pre-election violence kills two in Senegal

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Clashes between young people and police left two dead on Friday in Dakar and in the south of Senegal, where the verbal escalation of last weeks between power and opposition has turned into the dreaded confrontation a month and a half before the legislative elections.

Three opposition figures were arrested, Pastef party spokesman Ousseynou Ly said. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and Dakar mayor Barthélémy Dias, another ardent defender of President Macky Sall, were prevented from leaving their homes by security forces, he said.

Different neighborhoods of the capital were the scene of clashes between young people throwing stones and police keeping them at a distance with tear gas or dispersing them with stun grenades in the smoke of burning tires. In Casamance (south), the opposition accused the security forces of firing live ammunition.

In Dakar, a young man or a young woman, depending on the source, died when a projectile set fire in a room where he or she was, said a Red Cross official on condition of anonymity. The press and the opposition reported a second death in Bignona, Casamance.

Many Senegalese feared this rise in tensions since the authorities had banned the opposition on Wednesday from demonstrating this Friday afternoon. The opposition intended to protest against the invalidation of a national list of candidates for the legislative elections of July 31. She had warned that she would override the ban.

Demonstrators turned back

Platoons of police in riot gear, backed by armored vehicles, prevented anyone from approaching Place de la Nation where the rally was to take place, away from the political and economic center of the capital.

< p>The police drove small mobile groups back to the adjacent streets, harassing them with stones.

“It's really not good for business”, lamented Bilan Diop, 32, supported on a railing along the vast avenue strewn with pebbles leading to the deserted esplanade of the Nation. “Look at my store, it's closed, all the stores are closed as we approach Tabaski”, the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, conducive to commerce.

“For now, it seems under control. But what will happen next, we don't know”, worried with detonations in the background Bamba Diop, 30, who wins his life by renting parking spaces.

Troubles were reported in other areas of the capital, as well as in Ziguinchor, Casamance.

From the morning, the police laid siege to Ousmane Sonko's home in the well-to-do Dakar district of Mermoz, determined to prevent him from carrying out his declared intention to defy the ban on demonstrations.

At midday, they prevented him from going to the great weekly prayer.

“Even our freedom of worship is violated today”, said Mr. Sonko calmly, dressed in the traditional boubou for prayer, after coming up against a barrage of police.

Arrests

Power is giving in to “panic”, assured Mr. Sonko, third in the 2019 presidential election, declared candidate for that of 2024, and popular among young people.

Three opposition figures, Déthié Fall, Ahmet Aidara and Mame Diarra Fame, were arrested, said the spokesman for Mr. Sonko's party.

AFP could not obtain confirmation of these arrests as well as of the two death on the part of the authorities.

The opposition denounces the invalidation of the national list of the Yewwi Askan Wi coalition, led by Mr. Sonko's party, as a ploy by President Macky Sall to ward off his opponents. The invalidation excludes Mr. Sonko and certain opposition figures from the legislative elections.

The government and the opposition have given no sign of wanting to compromise and analysts generally describe a political impasse.

Many voices have been raised to call for dialogue in the face of the risk of violence similar to the riots which, in March 2021, left a dozen people dead in the country.

The opposition threatened prevent the elections from taking place if Yewwi Askan Wi does not participate. In fact, Yewwi can still compete with a national slate, but made up of alternates.

President Sall has closed the door to a repechage of the invalidated slate. “Anyway, the country is going to hold these elections, the Constitutional Council has decided,” he said.

The questioning of Mr. Sonko by the courts in a case of alleged rape had contributed in March 2021 to several days of riots, looting and destruction.

06/18/2022 01:55:07 – Dakar (AFP) – © 2022 AFP




Teilor Stone
Teilor Stonehttps://thesaxon.org
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116

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