HASn Senegal, the pressure does not weaken, at the end of a day under tension, each camp continues to camp on its position. “We have just had a day that is in line with what we experienced barely a year and a half ago,” Ousmane Sonko said Friday evening in a message posted on his Facebook page, in reference to the deadly riots of March 2021. The main opponent of Senegalese power denounced violations of the right to demonstrate, his freedom of movement, and freedom of worship.
The escalation was feared since the authorities banned the demonstration called by the opposition on Wednesday to protest against the invalidation of a national list of candidates from the Yewwi Askan Wi (YAW) coalition for the July 31 legislative elections. “What started today is the first act of the end of your reign,” he said. “Mr. Macky Sall, we give you an ultimatum (intimating to) release all the political hostages who are in your hands; beyond that, we will come and get these political hostages, it will cost what it has to cost,” said Ousmane Sonko.
I bow before the bodies of the 3 victims of Macky Sall’s blind and bloody repression against his people:
-A young boy with reduced mobility, burned to death, on the mattress where he was sitting and on which a tear gas canister landed.#freeSenegal
— Ousmane Sonko (@SonkoOfficiel) June 18, 2022
Burned tires, burning trash cans, tear gas: the capital Dakar and Casamance (South) were the scene of violent clashes on Friday when young people defied the ban on gathering to protest against the invalidation of the national list of candidates opposition to legislative elections. The media and the opposition reported a third death, a taxi driver hit by a bullet in Ziguinchor, Casamance, while he was not taking part in the clashes, according to them.
Three opposition figures, Déthié Fall, Ahmet Aidara and Mame Diarra Fame, were arrested. Ousmane Sonko and the mayor of Dakar, Barthélémy Dias, another ardent defender of President Sall, were blocked at home by the security forces.
Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, prevents a Senegalese citizen in the person of Ousmane Sonko from going to perform Friday prayers. pic.twitter.com/ioR8eK5Xdl
— �������������� ������ (@LamineNdiay11) June 17, 2022
“A mobilized youth is a power that scares even atomic bombs.” Thomas Sankara
Macky Sall cannot violate the basic rights of Senegalese.
— Waangrin (@Waangrin) June 17, 2022
Ousmane Sonko, also at the head of Pastef, accused President Macky Sall of being “a murderous president: after having murdered 14 people during the events of February-March 2021, here he is adding three other victims to his repertoire in June 2022,” he said. He once again denounced the “obsession” that he attributes to the president to run for a third term in 2024. The opponent again hammered a sovereignist and Africanist speech and accused Mr. Sall of being in the pay of personal and foreign interests, especially since the mobilization on Friday also concerned the cost of living, while prices have been soaring for months, in the wake of the war in Ukraine. He asked that France, a former colonial power with which Senegal maintains strong relations, remain “out of our internal affairs”.
The majority coalition, Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY), reacted by hailing “the democratic maturity” of the Senegalese people “who did not respond to the insurrectionary call of the Yewwi Askan Wi coalition”, accused of “irresponsibility and immaturity”. And congratulated “the effectiveness of public action in enforcing the law and maintaining order”. “Senegalese and Senegalese will go to the polls, normally, and in complete safety”, concluded the majority.
The power and the opposition have given no sign of wanting to compromise and analysts generally describe a political stalemate. Many voices have been raised to call for dialogue in the face of the risk of violence, the Association of Imams and Ulemas in Senegal expresses its concerns and raises the option of postponing the elections. Perhaps a last resort to prevent the country from sinking into chaos.