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Protesters take to the streets of Dakar against Senegal President Sall

Protesters in Dakar   -  
Copyright © africanews
JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Thousands or protesters took to the streets of the Senegalese capital Dakar, Friday 12 May, against President Macky Sall's refusal to rule out standing for a third term in office.

The demonstrations were organised by a group callled the "Movement of the living forces of Senegal F24"; referring to the scheduled election date of February 24 2024

Tensions have been stoked by Sall's refusal to rule out running for a third term as president, a move his opponents say would be unconstitutional.

Protester, Famo Dabo, explained why she was at the protest.

"We came here to liberate Senegal, to tell Macky Sall that he has to stop his dictatorial path," she said. 

"He only has to release the political prisoners, we are fed up, we don't want him anymore, we tell him ‘Enough.' 

"He only has to leave our Senegal, we want peace, we don't want problems with anyone."

The Senegal F24 group is an umbrella movement made up of more than 170 political and human rights organisations, aiming to pressure Sall not to stand for election next year.

Opposition leaders and influential members of organisations addressed the rally, calling on Sall to leave power and demanding the release of more than 300 "political detainees."

Another protester, Mamadou, said: "Senegalese democracy is in a coma. Why is it in a coma? The simplest principle in democracy, the free participation of political actors in elections, is biased, this simple principle is flouted. 

"President Macky Sall systematically blocks the democratic process in our country."

Many protesters pledged their support for opposition politician Ousmane Sonko, who was recently sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence for defamation and insults against the tourism minister which threatens his eligibility to run for president.

Mamadou believes the sentence is politically motivated. 

"There will be no elections in this country without the candidate Ousmane Sonko, this is very clear, we do not fool ourselves, we do not fool ourselves. 

"And we will have a defensive posture to impose this candidacy of right, whatever the means. We will not let ourselves be taken advantage of, this country is ours, this country has given us everything, this country has given us everything. 

"We are the youth of this country and we want Ousmane Sonko, it is as simple as that."

The opposition has accused Sall's government of using the judicial machinery to target potential challengers.

Although it is widely thought that Sall intends to run for election, he has not confirmed or denied it.

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