Thursday, February 22, 2024

Two killed in protest against election postponement in Senegal

The two persons were killed as police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Senegal.

• February 11, 2024
Protest in Senegal, Macky Sall
From the left:Protest in Senegal[Reuters] Macky Sall[Credit: France 24]

At least two deaths have been recorded as Senegalese hit the streets in vehement protest against President Macky Sall’s election postponement.

The two persons who were killed as police fired tear gas to disperse protesters were identified as Modou Gueye, a 23-year-old market vendor and Alpha Yoro Tounkara, a 22-year-old geography student at Gaston Berger University, according to AFP.

Mr Gueye died in Dakar during clashes on Saturday, while Mr Tounkara died a day before in the northern town of Saint-Louis.

The protest broke out upon President Sall’s postponement of the election scheduled for February 25. It also followed the parliament’s approval of polls postponement until December 15 after the military forced opposition party members out of the National Assembly.

In his first public statement on the election postponement that has sparked nationwide protests and widespread condemnation, Mr Sall denied trying to hold on to power.

“I am absolutely seeking nothing except to leave a country in peace and stability,” Mr Sall said. “I am completely ready to pass the baton. I have always been programmed for that. I don’t want to leave behind a country that will immediately plunge into major difficulties.”

Mr Sall assumed office in 2012 and is at the twilight of his second constitutional tenure that ends on April 2. The election postponement would see him stay in power beyond his tenure. 

Though Senegal has been one of Africa’s most stable democracies since 1960, Mr Sall’s postponement of the election has sparked nationwide protests threatening the country’s stability.

Khalifa Sall, former minister and mayor of Dakar, said the election postponement inspired by Mr Sall is a coup d’état that allows the president an illegitimate third term in office.

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