Military troops have been deployed to components of the Senegalese capital Dakar on Friday as town braced for extra unrest after a jail sentence for opposition chief Ousmane Sonko sparked one of many deadliest days of violence within the nation’s current reminiscence.
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9 folks have been killed in clashes between riot police and Sonko supporters on Thursday after he was sentenced to 2 years for corrupting youth. The opposition says the decision, which may forestall Sonko from operating in elections subsequent 12 months, was politically motivated.
Safety forces patrolled streets, which have been quiet on Friday however strewn with burned vehicles, rocks and damaged glass and lined with broken residences and companies. Massive teams of scholars have been bused out of the college campus.
The military was deployed to strengthen safety, authorities spokesperson Abdou Karim Fofana stated.
Cheikh Anta Diop College in Dakar was the epicentre of Thursday’s violence, with protesters setting buses alight and throwing rocks at riot police, who responded by firing tear gasoline.
One scholar, Alioune Ndiaye, stated he deliberate to journey a whole lot of miles to his dwelling in jap Senegal to flee the violence.
“Yesterday was tough and violent,” he stated, heading for the campus gate with a backpack filled with belongings. The bitter stench of tear gasoline nonetheless hung within the air.
“My major concern is that the college 12 months may very well be cancelled.”
Thursday’s riot was the newest bout in months of protests in Senegal, lengthy thought of one in every of West Africa‘s strongest democracies, sparked by Sonko’s courtroom case but additionally over issues that President Macky Sall will attempt to bypass the two-term restrict and run once more in February elections.
Sall has neither confirmed nor denied this.
Sonko’s PASTEF occasion has referred to as in a press release for residents to “cease all exercise and take to the streets”.
A number of social media and messaging platforms have been nonetheless restricted on Friday as the federal government sought to restrict on-line communications. Authorities in Dakar outlawed motorbikes for the following two days.
Regular life resumed tentatively within the Ouakam neighbourhood. Retailers reopened and folks queued for bread.
A gang had tried to pillage retailers within the space, stated Mouhamad Diouf, a enterprise proprietor. He and others defended their shops earlier than safety forces intervened.
“We thought they have been going to burn down the store,” stated Diouf, 40.
Sonko, 48, was accused of raping Adji Sarr, a lady who labored in a therapeutic massage parlour in 2021, when she was 20, and making demise threats towards her.
A legal courtroom cleared Sonko of rape, however discovered him responsible of an offence described within the penal code as immoral behaviour in the direction of people youthful than 21.
He denies wrongdoing.
Many, particularly the younger, strongly help him. Cheikh Hann, a tailor, predicted that the unrest would proceed.
“Younger persons are motivated, they won’t let this go,” he stated. “The federal government can’t eradicate opponents.”