Senegal: violent clashes between supporters of Ousmane Sonko and security forces
In Senegal, the opponent Ousmane Sonko was sentenced yesterday, Thursday, June 1, to two years in prison for corruption of youth. Clashes broke out in several cities after the sentencing was announced. The clashes began just after the sentence was announced. The death toll is nine, according to Interior Minister Antoine Félix Diome.
A woman walks past a burning barricade in Dakar after opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was convicted on June 1, 2023. AFP - GUY PETERSON
Text by: RFI Follow
With our correspondents in Dakar, Juliette Dubois, Charlotte Idrac and Théa Ollivier
In a statement last night on national television, Interior Minister Antoine Félix Diome reported nine deaths in Dakar and Ziguinchor, in the south of the country, city of which Ousmane Sonko is the mayor. "We have noted with regret violence resulting in destruction of public and private property, and unfortunately, nine deaths in Dakar and Ziguinchor," he said.
The demonstrators came out in different districts of Dakar such as Ngor, Ouakam, Yoff, Camberene or the Medina. Violent clashes with security forces broke out in the capital, but also in other cities of the country such as Ziguinchor or Saint-Louis.
After the conviction of Ousmane Sonko, Thursday, June 1, his supporters demonstrated in Dakar (photo) and in several cities of Senegal and sometimes violent clashes with the police took place. REUTERS - ZOHRA BENSEMRA
Cars and tyres set on fire, exchanges of stone throwing and tear gas with the police... Cheikh Anta Diop University has taken on the appearance of a battlefield, as told by Théa Ollivier,who met young demonstrators.
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Many roads were blocked, TER traffic linking Dakar to the suburbs was also interrupted and buses were targeted.
Access to social networks restricts
Also noteworthy, on Thursday evening, access to social networks and messaging such as WhatsApp, which was restricted for many Senegalese Internet users.
We remind the media of the importance of respecting the Press Code, which allows the administrative authority to prevent or put an end to any attack on State security, the integrity of the national territory or any case of incitement to hatred. While calling for calm and serenity, the State of Senegal has taken all measures to guarantee the safety of people and property, "said the Minister of the Interior, also justifying the restriction of social networks (WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube).
Loss of eligibility for Ousmane Sonko
Regarding the conviction of the Senegalese opponent, the charge of rape was not retained against Ousmane Sonko. He was eventually convicted of "corruption of youth", which means poaching or promoting the debauchery of a young person under the age of 21. For Adji Sarr's lawyer, this is already a victory, because it is acknowledged that there was sexual intercourse, but he regrets that the rapes and death threats were not retained.
Djiby Diagne, Ousmane Sonko's lawyer, said it was regrettable that Senegalese had been "sold" rape for more than two years, which led to a lot of deaths: 14 people had lost their lives when he was arrested in 2021 according to Amnesty International.
With this sentence, the race to the presidential election seems to stop for Ousmane Sonko who loses his eligibility. According to the Minister of Justice, he can now be arrested at any time.
" READ ALSO – Senegal: the opponent Ousmane Sonko sentenced to 2 years in prison for "corruption of the youth"
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