EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police African Protesters Explainer French Shops

EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police African Protesters Explainer French Shops


EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police African Protesters Explainer French Shops

EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police African Protesters Explainer French Shops

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

Here is a look at the unrest so far and what’s expected in the coming days:

WHO IS OUSMANE SONKO AND WHY WAS HE JAILED?

Ousmane Sonko, 46, is an opposition politician who rose to prominence during the 2019 presidential election. He received just over 15% of the vote, finishing third, but his speeches condemning government corruption and poverty struck a chord with many Senegalese. Given his young age and skills as an orator, observers said it likely would not be his last run for president.

Last week he was ordered to make a court appearance for questioning on accusations of rape. But on his way to the courthouse Wednesday, he was arrested for disturbing public order after hundreds of his supporters clashed with police who were trying to stop unauthorized protests. On Monday, he was released from police custody after being charged with rape and making death threats.

IS THIS REALLY ABOUT THE RAPE CASE?

Sonko’s supporters say Senegalese President Macky Sall is trying to derail the opposition leader’s political future. If Sonko is convicted, he faces up to 10 years in jail and would be barred from taking part in the 2024 election. Critics note it’s not the first time a perceived opponent of the president has faced criminal charges ahead of national elections.

In 2013, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade was charged with corruption. Karim Wade, who many thought would one day run for the presidency too, ultimately served three years in jail before going into exile in Qatar In 2017, Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall was arrested on corruption charges and not pardoned until after the 2019 election had taken place.


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