Senegalese security forces on Friday fired tear gas at protesters in the capital, as mounting anger over the postponement of a presidential election claimed a first death.
A student was killed in the northern town of Saint-Louis, according to associates of the man, as protests spread around the West African country. Police fired tear gas to stop demonstrators getting to the Place de la Nation in central Dakar, where a rally had been planned. Hundreds of demonstrators threw stones at police and set fire to tires.
Anger has mounted since Senegalese President Macky Sall postponed a presidential election scheduled for Feb. 25 until December.
“The situation is deplorable. We came to pray and we got gassed. It’s intolerable,” Thierno Alassane Sall, one of the 20 candidates who had been due to vie for the presidency, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Clashes spread to other areas of the capital, closing main roads, rail lines and main markets. Demonstrations also took place in other towns, according to social network reports.
The death of the student in Saint-Louis was confirmed to AFP by a local hospital source speaking on condition of anonymity and an official at the university the student attended.
Police also dispersed a protest by about 200 people in Nioro du Rip, about 250km east of Dakar, an AFP reporter saw.
Authorities have not given a toll for the week of protests.
The president said that he postponed the election because of a dispute between parliament and the Constitutional Council over potential candidates who were not allowed to stand.
Sall said in July last year he would not stand again and has repeated that commitment several times. However, opponents have accused him of a “constitutional coup” by delaying a new vote and keeping himself in power. The postponement has been criticized by the US and the EU.
The Senegalese parliament backed the move after security forces stormed the chamber and removed some opposition deputies.
The crisis has called into question the West African nation’s reputation for democratic stability in a region beset by military coups.
Protests usually require authorization and rights advocates say authorities have routinely banned opposition demonstrations. Since 2021, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested during unrest in the country.
“Senegalese must show their anger, and not just on social media,” said the candidate Thierno Alassane Sall, who is no relation to the president.
Teachers were urged to walk out by education unions within the civil society platform Aar Sunu Election (Let’s Protect Our Election).
At Blaise Diagne high school in Dakar, hundreds of pupils walked out of lessons with their teacher.
History and geography teacher Assane Sene said it was just the start of the battle.
“If the government is stubborn, we will have to try different approaches,” Sene said.
At the Masjidounnour mosque in Dakar, 37-year-old Amadou Sy told AFP: “The message hasn’t got through enough. But the situation in the country is deplorable, nobody’s happy.”
The vote by lawmakers to delay the election paves the way for Sall — whose second term expires in early April — to remain in office until his successor is installed, probably next year.
A new date for the presidential election has been set for Dec. 15.
The opposition has condemned Sall’s move as a “constitutional coup.”
On Friday, 14 opposition candidates lodged an appeal against the move with the Supreme Court.
However, Sall is showing no signs of backing down, Le Soleil daily deputy editor Sidy Diop said.
However, he added that the head of state is “in a very bad position.”
If civil society and the opposition “manage to impose a balance of power unfavorable to the government and rally the international community, the president may then back down,” he added.
International pressure may also have an impact, said Alassane Beye, a lecturer-researcher at the University of Saint-Louis.
SOUTH CHINA SEA SPAT: The image bolsters a Philippine Coast Guard assertion that Chinese inflatable boats deployed floating barriers at the shoal’s entrance last week Satellite images of the hotly disputed Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea show a new floating barrier across its entrance, near where Philippine ships and Chinese coast guard vessels have had frequent run-ins. One of the images taken by Maxar Technologies on Thursday last week and viewed by Reuters showed the barrier blocking the mouth of the shoal, where the Chinese coast guard last week claimed to have driven off a Philippine vessel “illegally intruding” into Beijing’s waters. Manila, which last week deployed a Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel to patrol the shoal and
Satoshi Kirishima spent almost half a century evading arrest, until mortality intervened. As deathbed confessions go, his was astonishing: Having lived a double life as a construction worker, the 70-year-old was admitted last month to a hospital near Tokyo where he told staff he was one of Japan’s most-wanted fugitives. In a more recent image provided to Japanese media by an acquaintance, it is just possible to discern a resemblance with the black-and-white photograph that has adorned Japanese police boxes for decades showing a bespectacled, smiling university student with shoulder-length hair. While he shared details of his family and his organization that only
CHINA LINKS: A report said that there were concerns about the loyalty of Qiu Xiangguo and Cheng Keding due to their direct contact with entities linked to China Two scientists at Canada’s top infectious disease laboratory lost their jobs after reviews found that they failed to protect sensitive assets and information, and failed to acknowledge collaborations with China, newly released records showed. The scientists, Qiu Xiangguo (邱香果) and her husband, Cheng Keding (成克定), were stripped of their security clearances in 2019 at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory over questions about their loyalty to Canada, and the potential for coercion or exploitation by a foreign entity, the documents say. More than 600 pages were made public on Wednesday following a special all-party review of the records. The records show that the Canadian Security
‘RUSSIA CANNOT WIN’: The French president declined to say which nations were considering sending troops, saying he prefers to maintain some ‘strategic ambiguity’ French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out” after the issue was debated at a gathering of European leaders in Paris, as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. The French leader said that “we will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war” after the meeting of more than 20 European heads of state and government, and other Western officials. “There’s no consensus today to send in an official, endorsed manner troops on the ground, but in terms of dynamics, nothing can be ruled out,” Macron said