EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police
Deadly protests have erupted over the past week in the West African nation of Senegal, long considered a bastion of democracy and a regional leader on diplomacy issues. Anti-government protesters have set supermarkets ablaze and lobbed rocks at riot police in a rare display of violence on the streets of the capital, Dakar. Sonko's supporters say Senegalese President Macky Sall is trying to derail the opposition leader's political future. The protesters see Sonko's arrest as just one example of corruption in a government beset by greed. Sall went on national television late Monday, six days after the protesters first began demonstrating.
Senegal opposition leader released as new clashes erupt
Demonstrators shout slogans in front of riot policemen during a protest against the arrest of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko, Senegal, Monday, March 8, 2021. Senegalese authorities have freed opposition leader Ousmane Sonko while he awaits trial on charges of rape and making death threats. Upon his release, the 46-year-old politician blamed his arrest on President Macky Sall, accusing the incumbent leader of seeking to sideline his future political prospects before the country's 2024 election. While Sonko publicly accused the president of plunging Senegal into an unprecedented crisis, the opposition leader said his goal wasn't to force Sall from power. Karim Wade, the son of the president Sall defeated in 2012, was once widely seen as the heir apparent before he was charged with corruption the following year.
Protests backing opposition leader escalate in Senegal
A demonstrator holds up a Senegalese flag during protests against the arrest of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko in Dakar, Senegal, Friday, March 5, 2021. Days of violent protests in Senegal have killed at least one person, local reports say, as young people take to the streets nationwide in support of the main opposition leader who was detained Wednesday. This week’s unrest in Dakar has been the worst seen in years in a country known for its stability. Police moved in to disperse crowds throwing objects at security forces and setting tires, pieces of wood and other objects on fire near the tribunal where opposition leader Ousmane Sonko appeared. Demonstrators reappeared after prayers to be confronted by authorities lobbing tear gas cannisters.
Senegal's opposition leader arrested amid violent protests
A demonstrator throws a rock at riot police during protests in support of main opposition leader and former presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Sonko was arrested Wednesday on charges of disturbing the public order after hundreds of his supporters clashed with police while he was heading to the court to face rape charges. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)DAKAR – Senegal’s main opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was arrested Wednesday on charges of disturbing the public order after hundreds of his supporters clashed with police while he was heading to the court to face rape charges. Sonko, who placed third in the 2019 elections, was accused of rape last month by an employee at a beauty salon. Ad“My car has been blocked for over an hour by the gendarmerie commanded by the prefect of Dakar.