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Senegal: Clashes in Casamance on the eve of Ousmane Sonko's trial

Senegal: Clashes in Casamance on the eve of Ousmane Sonko's trial
Demonstrators flee from police in a neighbourhood during demonstrations ...   -  
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GUY PETERSON/AFP or licensors


Clashes between the police and young supporters of the Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko Monday morning in Ziguinchor, Casamance (south), on the eve of the planned rape trial against the latter, noted a correspondent for the AFP.

Groups of young people threw stones at the security forces, who responded with tear gas, he said. Supporters of Mr. Sonko set up roadblocks in some streets using stone blocks and logs and burned tires.

Mr. Sonko, president of the Pastef-les Patriotes party, is supposed to be in Ziguinchor , the city of which he is mayor when he must be in Dakar on Tuesday for a trial for rape and death threats against an employee of a beauty salon in the capital.

Mr. Sonko says he is the target of a power plot to keep him out of the 2024 presidential election. He announced that he would no longer respond to summonses from justice, instrumentalized according to him. He risks being brought to court by force or being tried in absentia.

Many supporters gathered around his home in Ziguinchor on Sunday evening to spend the night and form a human shield against an attempted arrest, media reported.

The texts stipulate that Mr. Sonko should appear at the court registry on Monday in anticipation of his trial. Neither the lawyers nor the spokesman for his party, asked by AFP, said whether he persisted in his refusal to appear.

Mr. Sonko has always refuted the rapes and threats.

His appointments with the justice system have regularly given rise to incidents or put Dakar under tension. His opponents accuse him of relying on the streets to escape justice, or of being an agitator fomenting an "insurrectional" project.

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