Thu. May 30th, 2024

The authorities in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, have banned protests planned for Friday by supporters of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.

On 1 June, a court in Dakar acquitted Sonko on charges of rape and issuing death threats but sentenced himto two years in prison for “corrupting” a young woman in 2021.

Under Senegal’s penal code, “corrupting” is described as “anyone who offends against morality by inciting, promoting or facilitating the debauchery or corruption of young people of either sex under the age of 21”.

Violence sparked by the two-year jail term claimed the lives of at least 16 people and injured hundreds last week.

Sonko, a former tax inspector, is the mayor of Ziguinchor city and chairman of the Patriots for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (Pastef) party.

He came third in the 2019 presidential election with 15.7% of the vote.

Sonko’s supporters consider his sentencing politically motivated and part of a government plot to stop him standing in a presidential election scheduled for February 2024.

Friday’s protests were also about fears President Macky Sall may attempt run for an unconstitutional third term in office.

The opposition has vowed to hold the banned demonstrations on Saturday.

By Joy

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