Senegal seems to be sinking into crisis on Saturday February 10 after the repression of demonstrations, during which a student was killed, in this country shaken for several days by the controversial postponement of the presidential election.
Read also: Crisis in Senegal: the United States and the European Union condemn the postponement of the presidential election
Demonstrations against this postponement and the power of President Macky Sall took place on Friday in Dakar as well as in several cities across the country, notably in Saint-Louis, in northern Senegal, where a second year geography license student, Alpha Yoro Tounkara was killed.
Also read: Senegal. The presidential election finally postponed to December 15, 2024
In Dakar, the police made abundant use of tear gas to disperse the hundreds of people who sought to gather near the Place de la Nation during a test day on the balance of power between power, society civil society and the opposition.
This mobilization throughout Senegal is the first major protest since the postponement of the presidential election initially scheduled for February 25, which opened a serious political crisis in Senegal and plunged the country into a period of uncertainty.
In the capital, the highway and major routes were blocked. All access to Place de la Nation was closed by the authorities.
Protesters responded by throwing stones and setting up barricades with makeshift objects – planks and stones – and setting tires on fire.
Reporters Without Borders “outraged” in a message on X of the targeting of at least 5 journalists by the police during demonstrations in Dakar. A journalist from the Seneweb site was brutally arrested and hospitalized following discomfort, according to the NGO.
Another journalist from the newspaper Enquête was hit in the jaw, and tear gas was targeted in particular at the headquarters of the private television station Walf TV, whose license was recently revoked by the authorities.
200 people dispersed
In the commune of Nioro du Rip, some 250 km east of Dakar, a demonstration of around 200 people was also dispersed by the police, noted an AFP journalist.
In the morning, teachers set the tone with walkouts in schools. At the Blaise Diagne high school in Dakar, hundreds of students left their classes at 10 a.m., like Seynabou Ba, 18, who said “no longer have hope” for democracy in his country.
The postponement of the presidential election for 10 months has sparked outrage widely shared on social networks. The opposition cries “constitutional coup”. She suspects a scheme to avoid the defeat of the candidate of the presidential camp, or even to keep President Sall at the head of the country for several more years.
A group of 14 opposition candidates filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in the afternoon. Attempts to demonstrate since the announcement of the postponement have been repressed and dozens of people arrested. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since 2021 during different episodes of protest.
Postponement of the presidential election
President Sall decreed last Saturday the postponement of the presidential election, just three weeks before the deadline, in the midst of a political fight over the candidates retained or rejected for the vote.
The National Assembly approved on Monday a postponement until December 15, with the votes of the presidential camp and supporters of a failed candidate and under the protection of the gendarmes. She also voted to maintain Mr. Sall in power until his successor takes office, probably in early 2025. Mr. Sall’s second term officially expired on April 2.
After maintaining doubt for months, he repeated on different occasions, and again on Wednesday evening, the commitment made in 2023 not to run again.