Senegal: Clash between Police and Protesters as They Rally Against Election Delay

Dakar — Protesters responded to the call from civil society and a coalition of political parties against President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the presidential election from February 25 to December 15, 2024 by gathering in Dakar at  Place de la Nation, and almost all other districts of Dakar, on Friday afternoon, February 8.   The demonstrations are the start of a campaign against the Sall government.

According to colleagues contacted at the scene of the demonstrations, whose comments were confirmed by images from Pressafrik TV, clashes broke out between police and groups of young people wanting to gather near the Place de la Nation in Dakar, a few kilometers from the city center.

Local media also reported the death of a student from Gaston Berge University in Saint-Louis who died from his injuries after allegedly being hit by a live bullet.

Shortly before 4pm, tear gas canisters fired by the police began to rain on the demonstrators. allAfrica’s sources established that, in the Senegalese capital, protesters were not only gassed, but women journalists were caught up in the violence. Others were arrested in a very tense atmosphere punctuated by tear gas grenades.

A new collective of citizen groups, religious people and professional organizations had asked citiens to go to Friday’s weekly Muslim prayer dressed in white and the national colors. Messages began to circulate widely on social networks calling for Dakar residents to demonstrate from 3pm on the vast Place de la Nation.

Earlier on Friday morning, teachers set the tone with walkouts in schools. At the Blaise Diagne High School in Dakar, hundreds of students left their classes at 10am.

President Sall had asked the government on Thursday to take the necessary measures to calm to the public space, according to a press release published on the evening of February 8, 2024.

The protests demonstrated the strength of the action being taken by the Senegalese – the biggest since independence in 1960 – in response to the postponement of the presidential election by 10 months. The authorities didn’t publicly respond to the plan to continue protests at Place de la Nation.

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