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July 20, 2011

Senegal Bans Political Protests Ahead of Rally

Senegal has banned political protests in key public areas, two days ahead of a planned rally against President Abdoulaye Wade and his government.

In a decree issued Thursday, the interior ministry cited security reasons for the ban.  It forbids political rallies outside government buildings and in major squares.

A demonstration is planned for Saturday in the capital of Dakar, which saw massive protests and widespread rioting in late June.

Some demonstrators were protesting chronic power shortages, while others were rallying against President Wade's bid to change the constitution.

Opponents say the changes were aimed at making it easier for the president to be re-elected and for his son, Karim Wade, to succeed him.

After the massive protests, the 85-year-old leader withdrew the proposed amendments.

Last week, President Wade said he is confident he could win re-election, in an indication he plans to run for another term in the February election.

Opponents say President Wade's second term expires in 2012 and the current constitution bans him from seeking another term.

Supporters say Wade is entitled to run again because the new constitution was not in effect when he was first elected president in 2000.