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Calm returns to the streets of Dakar after 72 hours of violence

A police officer guards a road after protests burned tires and blocked roads in Dakar, on June 3, 2023   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Calm has returned to the streets of Senegal's capital, Dakar, following 72 hours of violence.

Clashes erupted on Thursday in the wake of the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to two years in jail.

On Saturday, authorities said that 500 people had been arrested since Thursday.

"The security forces were faced with violent demonstrators, who were not seeking to express opinions, but rather were engaged in subversive activities. The people apprehended during these events are mainly armed and dangerous individuals. Most of those arrested were in possession of Molotov cocktails, knives and large-calibre firearms", said Ibrahima Diop, Senegal's director of public security.

Supporters of Sonko and President Macky Sall have traded blame for the violence and deaths. 

The violence resulted in at least 16 deaths and more than 350 wounded.

Sonko was not present at his trial and is yet to be taken into custody for his jail term, which is predicted to stoke further tensions.

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