Giant protests have hit Senegal for a 3rd day as demonstrators burnt vehicles and clashed with police after the arrest of an opposition chief on Wednesday.
Ousmane Sonko appeared in court docket on Friday accused of disrupting public order. He additionally faces a rape allegation.
He denies the allegations and his supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.
No less than one individual has died within the uncommon nationwide unrest.
UN Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres has urged protesters and police to chorus from violence within the nation which is considered one of West Africa’s most secure nations.
On Friday police fired tear fuel at Mr Sonko’s supporters who arrange makeshift barricades within the capital Dakar the place the bottom was lined in burnt particles and folks chanted “Free Sonko”.
Police blocked motorbikes and mopeds, that are fashionable amongst Mr Sonko’s younger supporters, from town’s streets. A grocery store in Dakar’s suburbs was raided on Friday, in line with AFP news company.
“What we live by on this nation is unbelievable, it’s shameful,” one protester informed Reuters news company.
Demonstrators have gathered within the metropolis’s surrounding areas and within the southern metropolis of Bignona, a stronghold of Mr Sonko.
Two non-public TV channels that lined the protests have been suspended for 72 hours by the federal government.
Senegal’s authorities has condemned the protests as a “flagrant violation” of the state of emergency put in place to sort out coronavirus.
The United Nations’ particular envoy for West Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas has appealed for calm.
A number of the protesters have focused French-owned companies resembling supermarkets and petrol stations as a result of they are saying that below President Macky Sall, France has prolonged its financial pursuits in its former colony.
Mr Sonko, 46, was accused of rape in February by a lady who labored in a magnificence salon.
Following an investigation he was arrested on Wednesday and brought to court docket accompanied by a gaggle of supporters.
Police stated they then arrested him for disrupting public order when he refused to alter his path to the court docket.
Mr Sonko says the allegations of rape are fabricated. He accuses President Sall of attempting to take away potential opponents forward of the 2024 election. Two different opposition leaders had been excluded from the 2019 election after being convicted on costs which they are saying had been politically motivated.
There are experiences that Mr Sall could search to alter the structure to permit him to run for a 3rd time period.
Mr Sonko is the president’s solely remaining severe challenger, BBC Afrique’s Ndèye Khady Lo in Dakar says.
She explains that the opposition politician is especially fashionable with younger Senegalese for his promise of radical opposition to what he calls “the system”.
In 2014 he based his personal political celebration, Nastef, and got here third within the 2019 presidential election with 15% of the vote.
In a video recorded and shared on social media in 2018, Mr Sonko informed activists: “There may be monumental potential on this nation. It’s unacceptable to see struggling of our folks” including “our flesh pressers are criminals. Those that have dominated Senegal from the start should be shot.”
Extra from Senegal:
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.