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Senegal: Gatherings for Sonko's inauguration banned

Senegal: Gatherings for Sonko's inauguration banned
Supporters of Ousmane Sonko   -  
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Sylvain Cherkaoui/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


Senegalese authorities have banned rallies of opponent Ousmane Sonko's party scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, according to an official statement released Thursday.

The July 15 rally was organized in particular to officially nominate Mr. Sonko as his party's candidate, Pastef, for the 2024 presidential election, although the opponent has been ineligible since a recent conviction.

“There are indications that these gatherings constitute real risks of disturbing public order” , justified the governor of Dakar, Al Hassan Sall.

“Calls through social networks invite supporters of this political formation (Pastef) to already invest in the major markets and the main axes and places of gatherings,” said the press release.

However, according to the governor, individuals had attacked public and private property, businesses and other facilities during a call to demonstrate by Mr Sonko in early June.

Supporters of Mr. Sonko said that their candidate's inauguration would be held on Saturday at the Amadou Barry stadium in Guédiawaye, in the Dakar suburbs, and not on the "public road".

Mr. Sonko, the fiercest opponent of President Macky Sall, who will turn 49 on Saturday, was sentenced a month ago to two years in prison in a vice case. He has been blocked by the security forces at his home in Dakar, "kidnapped" according to him, since May 28.

This sentence led to the most serious disturbances in Senegal in early June for years, which left 16 dead according to the authorities, around thirty according to the opposition.

The leader of Pastef promised a week ago "indescribable chaos" if he is prevented from being a candidate in the next presidential election.

President Macky Sall, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, announced in early July that he would not seek a third term.

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