Senegal: Ousmane Sonko calls for demonstration, justice denounces an attempt at "insurrection"

Supporters of Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko during a clash with security forces before the Pastef party president appears in court for a defamation case against him in Dakar, Senegal on March 16, 2023. © Stefan Kleinowitz / AP

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In Senegal, despite the ban of the prefecture, the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi maintained its call for demonstrations Wednesday, March 29 in Dakar and Thursday, during the trial of Ousmane Sonko, sued for defamation by the Minister of Tourism. His previous summons on 16 March had provoked clashes in the capital. In a context of high tensions, the justice denounced Tuesday the existence of a group "targeting the insurrection": "delusions", according to Ousmane Sonko.


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With our correspondent in Dakar, Charlotte Idrac


In the course of investigations, an organization that calls itself 'commando'," said the prosecutor general at the Dakar Court of Appeal. His targets, according to Ibrahima Bakhoum: "public figures from the judiciary, the state apparatus, clerics and the press".

Four people were arrested, including one believed to be part of the Casamance rebellion of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Another 19 are wanted for charges "that threaten the stability of the country", according to Ibrahima Bakhoum:

« Subversive activities ranging from the making of explosive agents, smoke, Molotov cocktails. And the purpose of all this is to take brilliant actions to install fear and chaos, and the fertile ground is demonstrations. »

"Ridiculous" remarks according to Ousmane Sonko, who reaffirmed late in the evening that he had been the victim of an "assassination attempt" by the police onhis way to the courthouse on March 16.


The prosecutor spoke to you about the international community and tried to tell you that there would be extremely serious and extremely dangerous terrorists in Senegal. We will go out, we will demonstrate, we will face Macky Sall, "said the opponent.

In view of possible new unrest, the University of Dakar and the country's schools are closed: the Easter holidays have been brought forward.

In the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for February 2024 in Senegal, and while President Macky Sall maintains the vagueness on a possible candidacy for a third term, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses "its deep concern at the intensification of the repression against members of the political opposition and journalists". The organization calls on the authorities "to do everything possible to ease the political climate".

Read also Senegal: in an interview with "L'Express", Macky Sall maintains the vagueness on a 3rd mandate

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