April 1, 2023

Ousmane Sonko, extensively supported by Senegalese youth, is going through a civil libel case filed in opposition to him by Senegal’s tourism minister for alleged defamation and public insults.

Police and demonstrators clashed in Senegal’s capital Dakar on Thursday forward of a courtroom case involving opposition chief Ousmane Sonko, who’s extensively supported by lots of the West African nation’s youth.

Regulation enforcement officers fired tear fuel at tons of of Sonko supporters as they trailed automobiles taking him to courtroom for the resumption of a civil libel case in opposition to him by Senegal’s tourism minister for alleged defamation and public insults.

Protesters burnt tires within the streets and hurled stones at police. A big grocery store was set on fireplace, the reporters mentioned.

Sonko, 48, can also be charged with raping a magnificence salon worker in 2021 and making loss of life threats in opposition to her. He denies all wrongdoing and says the allegations are politically motivated. No date has been set for the trial.

Thursday’s skirmishes are the newest spherical of unrest in Senegal, the place presidential elections are scheduled for February subsequent yr. The nation has lengthy been seen as a bastion of stability and democracy in a restive area, a status shaken by lethal violence over the past two years.

A lot of the anger is focused towards President Macky Sall, whose failure to rule out working for a 3rd time period in workplace has angered many. Senegal’s structure solely permits two phrases, however some worry that Sall will use a current tweak to the structure to reset his mandate, a tactic utilized by different rulers to increase energy within the area.

His authorities has additionally been accused of imprisoning dissidents and members of the opposition.

However many Senegalese youths have additionally been drawn to Sonko due to excessive unemployment and financial hardship.

This has led to sporadic and typically violent protests. Cries of “Macky Sall is a dictator” rang out in Dakar. throughout one protest in July 2022.

Tensions have flared earlier than Sonko’s courtroom look this week, with three days of protest, Greater than 10,000 supporters gathered at a discipline in Dakar on Tuesday to cheer on Sonko, who hopes to run for president in February. The previous tax inspector got here third within the 2019 polls – the youngest candidate in that election.

Sonko supporters accuse Sall of searching for to get rid of him from the competitors with a responsible verdict.

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