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 Senegal: Time to go?

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
toubab1020 Posted - 06 Jun 2023 : 15:38:35


Death toll climbs in Senegal after two days of violent protests

Jun 5, 2023, 11:11 AM DAKAR, June 3 (Reuters)

The death toll from anti-government protests in Senegal has risen to 15, police said on Saturday, as authorities in the capital Dakar began to clear up debris and secure looted shops after two days of unrest.
Most of Dakar appeared quiet on Saturday, but tensions remained high after violent protests in several cities killed six people on Friday, taking the total number killed this week to 15, a police spokesperson said by phone.

The toll has now surpassed the number killed in multi-day protests in 2021, when supporters of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko first took to the streets over a rape trial they say is politically motivated.

Sonko denies any wrongdoing.

Sonko's sentencing on Thursday, which could prevent him from running in the February presidential election, sparked the latest turmoil as protesters heeded his call to stand up to the authorities.

Mobs smashed windows and looted at least two gas station shops overnight in Dakar's Ouakam and Ngor districts, while a supermarket in densely populated Grand Yoff was torched and ransacked. Rubble littered the roads that were scarred black by fires.

"The police couldn't do anything, there were too many of them. The police had to leave after several attempts to control the crowd with tear-gas grenades", said resident Khadija by the supermarket whose interior was gutted and strewn with broken shelves, mud and trash.

The government has enlisted the army to back up the many riot police still stationed around the city. Over a dozen soldiers guarded the trashed gas station in Ouakam on Saturday, as some shop owners tentatively opened their doors, although streets were unusually empty.

Abdou Ndiaye, the owner of a nearby corner shop said he had closed early the two previous days and opened late on Saturday, fearful of the unrest that he said was the worst he'd seen in his 15 years of business.

"We are so scared because you don't know when the crowds will come, and when they come they take ... your goods, they are thieves," he said in a storeroom stacked with sacks of food and household items.

"There are people who demonstrate but there are others who do whatever they want."

The unrest is the latest in a string of opposition protests in Senegal, long considered one of West Africa's most stable democracies, sparked by Sonko's court case as well as concerns that President Macky Sall will try to bypass the two-term limit and run again in February elections.

Sall has neither confirmed nor denied this.

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toubab1020 Posted - 07 Jun 2023 : 11:51:33



500 protesters arrested in Senegal
Jun 6, 2023, 11:35 AM

Police Commissioner Ibrahim Diop of Senegal has given a breakdown of the three days protest in which 500 people were arrested including teenagers, foreigners with sophisticated weapons, arms and ammunitions, cutlasses and dangerous materials.

At least 357 were wounded with 78 classified serious and 16 deaths. It has also been reported that the banks have been temporarily closed.

Protesters were smashing and burning cars and public buses.

They were looting goods, attacking banks, supermarkets and shops, burning properties.

Universities and schools vandalised and are closed until further notice.

The public transport bus Dakar Dem Dik lost 357million CFA damages amounting to D37.5M and total lost to Senegalese government in a 3-day riot, costing over 1.2 billion CFA.

Among the detainees include bandits and thieves since the beginning of the incident.

toubab1020 Posted - 07 Jun 2023 : 11:43:10


Senegal is currently in the arms of the two most important arms of the state, that is, the judiciary and the executive. Presidents of republics and judges are sworn in to perform their duties without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

Courts serve republics by their capacity to ensure the dispensation of justice so that it will be done and will also be seen to have been done. This means that courts are not only instruments of justice but also promoters of stability and order.

In short when justice is seen to be done the society as a whole will accept any verdict and the integrity of courts will prevail.

The Sonko case in Senegal has reached a point where the views of those who presided over the case and the views of the Senegalese public are diametrically opposed to each other, thus causing social friction that has led to loss of life and property. This tension is unsustainable. One would have thought that the judiciary could settle the matter through a deal but there is a big debate in Senegal whether someone sentenced in absentia could appeal against that sentence. The legal minds are still grappling with such an issue.

This leaves the executive to be the immediate source of hope for the settlement of the tension through the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. Will this be exercised to control the crisis and then followed by dialogue to deal with issue of term limits of the president? The future will tell.


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