Thursday, February 22, 2024

Protest over election delay postponed in Senegal after authorities ban | Politics Information

The 40-group collective behind the march is protesting towards ‘constitutional coup’, as alleged by the opposition.

A protest march scheduled for Tuesday towards Senegalese President Macky Sall’s controversial transfer to delay this month’s presidential ballot to December has been postponed after authorities banned it, organisers mentioned.

Elymane Haby Kane, one of many organisers of the march, advised AFP information company he obtained an official letter from native authorities within the capital, Dakar, that the march was banned because it might severely hamper site visitors.

“We are going to postpone the march as a result of we need to stay throughout the legislation,” mentioned Malick Diop, coordinator of a collective that known as the protest. “The march was banned. There’s an issue with the route so we’ll change this.”

Cell web protection was additionally restricted, simply because it had been on the day of the parliamentary vote.

“Because of the dissemination on social networks of a number of subversive hate messages which have already provoked violent demonstrations… cellular knowledge is suspended this Tuesday 13 February,” the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Power mentioned in an announcement.

Sall’s resolution to push again the February 25 vote plunged Senegal right into a disaster that noticed clashes between protesters and police during which three individuals have been killed.

The Aar Sunu Election (Let’s Shield Our Election) collective, which incorporates some 40 civil, spiritual {and professional} teams, had known as for a rally in Dakar on Tuesday at 15:00 GMT.

The Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) has known as on the federal government to revive the unique election timetable. On Monday, ECOWAS chair, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, visited Sall to debate the matter simply days after an emergency session of international ministers throughout the bloc.

The chairman of the African Union Fee, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has urged Senegal to resolve its “political dispute by way of session, understanding and dialogue”.

‘Constitutional coup’

Sall mentioned he postponed the election due to a dispute between parliament and the Constitutional Council over potential candidates barred from operating and over fears of a return to unrest seen in 2021 and 2023.

Parliament backed the suspension of the election till December 15, however solely after safety forces stormed the Nationwide Meeting and detained some opposition lawmakers.

The vote paved the way in which for Sall – whose second time period was attributable to expire in April – to stay in workplace till his successor is put in, most likely in 2025.

Senegal’s opposition has decried the transfer as a “constitutional coup” and suspects it’s a part of a plan by the presidential camp to increase Sall’s time period in workplace, regardless of him reiterating that he wouldn’t stand once more.

Sall, who has been in energy since 2012, is now in search of a means out of the turmoil.

Media have reported the potential for a brand new dialogue with the opposition, together with anti-establishment firebrand opposition chief Ousmane Sonko, who fought the state for greater than two years earlier than being imprisoned final yr.

Some have steered the potential for an amnesty for Sonko, his imprisoned second-in-command Bassirou Diomaye Faye, and for individuals detained throughout unrest in 2021 and 2023.

The federal government has not commented on the experiences.

Senegal’s eight public universities started a two-day strike on Monday in protest towards the dying of a pupil throughout Friday’s unrest within the northern metropolis of Saint-Louis, the primary increased schooling union mentioned.

Human Rights Watch in the meantime mentioned at the least 271 individuals have been arrested on Friday and Saturday.

Ex-Presidents Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade – the daddy of one of many disqualified candidates, Karim Wade – known as on Sall to organise the “nationwide dialogue he has introduced, at once”, in response to a letter despatched to AFP and attributed to the previous leaders. In addition they known as on youths to “instantly finish the violence”.

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