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Senegal: "If Sonko is not freed, we're going to tear the place apart".

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Copyright © africanews
Leo Correa/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Senegal

After 4 days of demonstrations against the arrest of Ousmane Sonko, a precarious calm reigns in the country's major cities. Africanews correspondent Wahany Johnson Sambou met many young demonstrators who promise to return to the streets by Monday if an unfavourable decision is taken against the man they consider their president, Ousmane Sonko.

"We issue a warning to President Macky. Let him know that he has not touched Sonko but the youth because Sonko is the hope of an entire nation. All we want is for him to set him free. If he doesn't, today we're on a break, we'll listen to him by tomorrow. If we don't hear from him, we'll do worse than we have already done."

"If he sees the message of our peaceful march, we will demonstrate peacefully. But if he doesn't react, we will opt for violence. We will destroy everything. If he locks him up, we will find him in the palace. »

Sonko is due to appear before a judge in Dakar on Monday to face questions about the rape charge.

Popular with young Senegalese voters, 46-year-old Sonko has capitalised on frustrations over stubborn poverty and the government's handling of Covid-19.

He ran against President Macky Sall in 2019, but finished third in a race that delivered the incumbent a second term.

Sonko is seen as a potential challenger to Sall in 2024 -- but his political future came into doubt in February after an employee at a beauty salon where he received massages filed rape charges against him.