A violent clash between police and supporters of Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has resulted in nine deaths, according to the government. The incidents primarily occurred in Dakar, the capital, and Ziguinchor in the south, where Sonko serves as mayor. In response to the violence, the authorities of Senegal have imposed a ban on several social media platforms. Aiming to prevent the spread of inflammatory content.
Senegal Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome confirmed the fatalities and implemented a ban on social media sites. Stating Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, which were being used by demonstrators to incite violence.
In an effort to ensure the safety of individuals and protect property, the Senegalese government has taken comprehensive measures. Diome emphasized the intention to bolster security across the country.
Meanwhile, Ousmane Sonko was convicted of corrupting youth but acquitted of rape charges. And making death threats against a woman employed at a massage parlour, received a two-year prison sentence on Thursday. Sonko did not attend his trial in Dakar and was tried in absentia. His lawyer confirmed that no arrest warrant had been issued for the politician yet.
Following the Conviction of Opposition Leader Ousmane Sonko
Sonko came in third in Senegal’s 2019 presidential election and is popular with the country’s youth. His supporters maintain his legal troubles are part of a government effort to derail his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Sonko is considered President Macky Sall’s main competition. He has urged Sall to state publicly that he won’t seek a third term in office. Corrupting young people, which includes using one’s position of power to have sex with people under the age of 21, is a criminal offence in Senegal that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to more than $6,000. Under Senegalese law, his conviction would bar Sonko from running in next year’s election, said Bamba Cisse, another defence lawyer.
“The conviction for corruption of youth hinders his eligibility because he was sentenced in absentia, so we can’t appeal,” Cisse said. However, the government said that Sonko can ask for a retrial once he is imprisoned. It was unclear when he would be taken into custody. Shortly after the verdict was announced Thursday, clashes erupted throughout the country with Sonko’s PASTEF party calling for people to take to the streets. In Dakar, protesters threw rocks, burned vehicles and in some places erected barricades while police fired tear gas. Plumes of black smoke and the sound of tear gas being fired were seen and heard throughout the city. Those who weren’t protesting stayed indoors, leaving much of Dakar a ghost town with boarded-up shops and empty streets as people feared the violence would escalate. rewrite with heading