News / Africa

    Senegal Braces for Possible Political Violence

    Protesters burn tires in a street after Senegal's highest court ruled that the country's increasingly frail President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, could run for a third term in next month's presidential election, in Dakar, Senegal, January 27, 2012.
    Protesters burn tires in a street after Senegal's highest court ruled that the country's increasingly frail President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, could run for a third term in next month's presidential election, in Dakar, Senegal, January 27, 2012.
    Jane Labous

    Dakar is on red alert for another night of violence as the Constitutional Court considers the appeals of the rejected presidential candidates.  On Friday, Senegal's highest court ruled that President Abdoulaye Wade can run for re-election, but ruled some other candidates cannot.

    Dakar is recovering from violent protests that spread across the city Friday night as news spread that incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade's bid to stand for a third term had been approved by the Constitutional Court.

    Youths took to the streets in central Dakar and other towns such as Mbour, Thies and Kaolack. The headquarters of President Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party was burned down, with other angry protesters gathering around the Constitutional Court itself.

    Police opened fire with tear gas to disperse protesters in central Dakar, who hurled rocks at police and set tires on fire.  Cars were overturned to make roadblocks.

    The opposition says an amendment to the Senegalese constitution sets a limit of two terms for a president. But President Wade, 85, said his first term pre-dated the constitutional amendment.

    The court validated 13 other presidential candidates but rejected the candidacy of Senegalese pop star Youssou N'Dour, along with Abdoulahmane Sarr and Keba Keinde.  The Senegalese press is reporting Saturday that Wade's administration will try to invalidate the candidacies of principal opponents Idrissa Seck and Macky Sall.

    Also Saturday, Senegal's June 23 Movement,which represents all the major opposition candidates, announced street protests asking the president to step down. Police have arrested Alioune Tine, a senior member of the so-called M23 coalition along with many others. 

    There are also rumors that police have also been ordered to arrest the head of the opposition movement M23, Abdoulahmane Sarr, who at 43 is one of the youngest candidates, submitted his appeal to the court Saturday morning.  He said that he remains positive.

    "We have done everything we can to offer the opportunity to Senegalese people to vote for a competent, engaged youthful politician who offers solutions that they need.  There is no reason that we should be rejected after collecting 12,454 signatures of support," said Sarr.

    Youssou N'Dour also appealed the decision early Saturday and is now waiting to see whether his candidacy can be approved.

    Military units currently surround the Constitutional Court and others areas in Dakar.

    Dakar resident Emmanuel Camara said the protests will only get worse.

    "They should expect it to be worse than the June 23 protest, because starting from tomorrow onwards, our youth - what we call our youth forces - will position themselves here in the street.  It's unacceptable," said Camara.

    As it currently stands, the centrist Wade will face rivals including Socialist Party leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng and three ex-prime ministers - Idrissa Seck, Macky Sall and Moustapha Niasse.

    Sarr says, despite the trouble, Senegal is nevertheless a peaceful place.

    "It's a shame about the protests, because we all know that Senegal is a country of peace," said Sarr.  "We would have liked the candidacies to have been set in an atmosphere of peace - and to have had far and transparent elections.  We would hope that the elections can go ahead in as much calm as possible.  It is a shame that we cannot just go ahead with the process as normally as possible.  The young people of Senegal are ready to turn the page and vote for change."

    It remains to be seen if the protests will continue in the days running up to the voting on February 26.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.