Senegal: Dakar In Peak Tension As Clashes Erupt Amid Political Unrest

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Demonstrators protest President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the Feb. 25 vote, in Dakar, Senegal, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

Simmering political tensions which boiled over into violent clashes in Senegal between opposition activists and law enforcement agencies, on Friday, February 9, 2024, turned the streets of Dakar, the country’s capital, into a battleground.

The catalyst for the unrest was a planned demonstration by supporters of opposition presidential candidates. Their aim was to voice opposition against a recent law passed by the National Assembly. This law not only postponed the presidential election until December 15, but also controversially extended President Macky Sall’s term of office.

As the demonstrators gathered, police and gendarmes swiftly moved in, using tear gas to disperse the crowds and prevent the rally from taking place. However, their efforts only served to exacerbate the situation, fuelling further anger and frustration among the opposition supporters.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Dakar was gripped by tension and chaos. Smoke filled the air as barricades were set ablaze, casting a pall of uncertainty over the city. Amidst the chaos, journalists found themselves on the front lines, facing hostility from both protesters and security forces.

Several journalists were reportedly charged by law enforcement, while others were briefly detained. Some even sustained injuries in the ensuing melee, highlighting the dangers faced by those reporting on the unfolding events.

Despite the volatile situation, the demonstrations continued late into the evening, with the sound of police sirens echoing through the streets. For the residents of Dakar, Friday was a day marred by violence and uncertainty, as the city grappled with the ramifications of the political turmoil gripping the nation.

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