Massive protests hit Senegal for a 3rd day as protesters burned down automobiles and clashed with police after an opposition chief was arrested on Wednesday.
Ousmane Sonko appeared in court docket on Friday, accused of disturbing public order. He additionally faces an allegation of rape.
He denies the allegations and his supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.
No less than one individual has died within the uncommon issues nationwide.
Senegal is among the most steady international locations in West Africa.
Police fired tear gasoline at supporters of Mr. Sonko on Friday within the capital Dakar, the place some outlets and faculties closed throughout the protests.
Police additionally blocked bikes and mopeds, that are standard amongst younger supporters of Mr. Sonko, on the town streets.
The demonstrators gathered within the outskirts of the town and within the southern city of Bignona, stronghold of Mr. Sonko.
Two personal tv stations that lined the protests had been suspended for 72 hours by the federal government.
The Senegalese authorities condemned the protests as a “flagrant violation” of the state of emergency put in place to struggle the coronavirus.
The United Nations particular envoy for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, known as for calm.
Mr. Sonko, 46, was charged with rape in February by a girl who labored in a magnificence salon.
Following an investigation, he was arrested on Wednesday and delivered to justice together with a bunch of supporters.
Police stated they then arrested him for disrupting public order when he refused to alter his path to go to court docket.
Mr Sonko says the rape allegations are fabricated. He accuses Senegalese President Macky Sall of making an attempt to eradicate potential opponents earlier than the 2024 elections. Two different opposition leaders had been excluded from the 2019 elections on authorized grounds, which they stated had been politically motivated .
There are experiences that Mr Sall could search to amend the structure to permit him to run for a 3rd time period.
Mr. Sonko is the president’s solely severe challenger, says Ndèye Khady Lo of BBC Africa in Dakar.
She explains that the opposition politician is especially appreciated by younger Senegalese for his promise of radical opposition to what he calls “the system”.
In 2014, he based his personal political get together, Nastef, and got here third within the 2019 presidential election with 15% of the vote.
In a video recorded and shared on social media in 2018, Mr Sonko informed activists: “There may be monumental potential on this nation. It’s unacceptable to see the struggling of our individuals” including “that our flesh pressers are criminals. Those that have dominated Senegal from the beginning need to be shot. “