Two killed in clashes between protestors and authorities in Senegal after election suspension – JURIST

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Senegal’s Interior Ministry announced Saturday that one student was killed at Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis, and Agence France Presse (AFP) released an exclusive report alleging that another man was killed in Dakar as protests continue throughout Senegal in the wake of the Senegalese Parliament’s decision to postpone the national election.

Senegalese Interior Minister Sidiki Kaba released a statement to Agence de Presse Senegalaise (APS), the Senegalese state-owned news agency, confirming that Alpha Yéro Tounkara, a student at Gaston Berger University, was killed following protests on campus. However, Kaba denied that the Senegalese Defense and Security Forces intervened during the protests at the university. According to APS, the Saint-Louis High Court has opened an investigation into Tounkara’s death. Also in response to Tounkara’s death, students at Alioune-Diop University of Bambey are holding a 72-hour strike. 

In the Senegalese capital Dakar, AFP reported that a 23-year-old market vendor, Modou Gueye, was shot during protests and later succumbed to his injuries, according to relatives of the deceased. Senegalese authorities have not confirmed Gueye’s death.

According to APS, 17 have also been arrested in Kolda, Senegal after protests there. The US Embassy in Dakar announced Friday that there have been reports of Senegalese security forces using tear gas to disperse crowds. Cheikh Diop, the Secretary General of the National Confederation of Workers of Senegal – Force for Change (CNTS-FC), called for peace and an end to the unrest during a meeting with Prime Minister Amadou Ba and representatives from multiple trade unions in response to the crisis.

The protests are in response to President Macky Sall’s request that parliament delay national elections, alleging that the constitutional judges who vet all viable candidates must be investigated for possible bribery charges. The Senegalese Parliament approved the delay after a chaotic debate in which opposition lawmakers were removed from the building despite opposition from proposed presidential candidates. Macky Sall has been in power for 12 years and having served two terms as president, is ineligible for reelection according to the Senegal Constitution.

As protests have begun to break out in Senegal, the government has cracked down on both internet and media access. Earlier this week, Senegal’s internet was out for two days, only being restored on Wednesday. The government also revoked the license of local news station Walf, leading to a sit-in at Walf’s headquarters.

Multiple members of the international community have condemned the delay of the Senegalese national election. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the delay and called for the resumption of elections as scheduled, stating, “[t]he ECOWAS Commission encourages the political class to take steps to urgently restore the electoral calendar in accordance with the provisions of Senegal’s Constitution.” The US endorsed ECOWAS’ statement, with the US Embassy in Dakar releasing a statement in support of reinstating the previously scheduled national election.

According to the US Embassy in Dakar, protests are expected to continue throughout Saturday.


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