News / Africa

Senegalese Decry Pre-Election Violence

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

The Senegalese capital, Dakar, is relatively calm Sunday, after another night of protests in the city sparked by a court decision allowing President Abdoulaye Wade to stand for re-election.  Roads remain closed to stem the violence, and many Senegalese are saying enough is enough.

An atmosphere of calm reigns over Dakar today as its population recovers from two days of protests that rocked the capital.

More young people gathered Saturday night in the Medina district of Dakar to voice their disapproval of the decision by Senegal's highest court that President Abdoulaye Wade can run for re-election.

Fires were lit in the Mamelles district and the road to the airport remains shut down.

But while the military remains on high alert, many breathed a sigh of relief that the violent demonstrations that left a policeman dead and many injured on Friday night were not repeated.

The trouble started almost immediately Friday following the announcement that 85-year-old incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade’s bid to stand for a third term had been approved by the Constitutional Court. The opposition says an amendment to the Senegalese constitution sets a limit of two terms for a president.  But Wade says his first term pre-dated the constitutional amendment.

Fires were lit in Medina on Saturday night after the leaders of the M23 coalition, representing all the major opposition candidates running in the election, rallied people to stand up to the decision and “fight” - saying that Wade had declared war on the people.

Amath Dansakho, head of the Independence and Work Party and a member of M23, spoke to the press on Saturday.

Dansakho says we invite the whole population to organize and mobilize to confront Wade.  The fight has only just begun.  He says we launch a demand to all the political organizations and to civil society to take part in this resistance and we reiterate our appeal to the security forces to stay on the side of the people.

But many Senegalese are openly critical of the kind of violence fomented by a few young people who declared their intention to bring Arab Spring-like unrest to Dakar’s central Place d'Obelisque.

Student Moctar Ba says the opposition is irresponsible to incite young people to riot.

“Here in Senegal we do nt have a good, mature opposition,” he explains. “Because a good opposition should never call on young people to go out into the streets to make trouble.  We need an opposition who calls for calm and who gets everyone fired up to go to the election and vote against Abdoulaye Wade.”

Ba says M23 should be encouraging Senegal’s youth to build for the future - not destroy.

For me, a young people who love their country should not be burning it down or killing people because of Abdoulaye Wade.  Wade, even if he is the president, is really small in the face of 12 million people, Ba says.  "It is all of us who share this country and the youth who should share it and lead it into a healthy future.  If we break our country now, it is us who will have the hard task of rebuilding it tomorrow.”

One thing is clear however, the Senegalese almost unanimously want Mr. Wade to go.  No one who spoke to VOA believed Wade should be president for a third term, and many blame him directly for causing the violence.

Today, invalidated opposition candidate Youssou N’Dour waits to see whether his appeal will be accepted by the Constitutional Court.

Validated candidate Macky Sall said he is not surprised that Mr. Wade’s candidature was accepted.  Now he believes it is a question of going forward despite the president’s claims that the opposition is afraid of him.

It is not a question of being afraid or not afraid, he says. It is a question of respect for the constitution and the law.  If he had respected that, we would not be in this position, Sall says.  "OK, he is the strongest and the most handsome and all that - but he does not have the right to be a candidate.”

Senegalese will go to the polls on February 26.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More