Human Rights Watch Protests Beating of Senegalese Activists

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 8:15 am (UTC-5)
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Human Rights Watch wants the Senegalese government to investigate violent assaults on two human rights activists during protests in Dakar.

The group says Alioune Tine and Oumar Diallo were attacked Thursday by youths from the political party of President Abdoulaye Wade.

Opposition protesters clashed with police to protest the ruling party's efforts to change the constitution's presidential election requirements. Demonstrators said the proposed amendment would make it easier for Mr. Wade to be re-elected.

Tine is secretary-general of the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights, and Diallo is his colleague. Both Tine and Diallo were hospitalized due to the attack.

HRW is calling on the Senegalese government to allow peaceful demonstrations and end threats against activists.

The ruling party abandoned its effort to amend the election law after Thursday's violence.

The amendment would have included a vice-presidential candidate on the presidential ticket, and required a winning candidate to get only 25 percent of the vote. Members of both the opposition and Mr. Wade's ruling party feel he would have used the amendment to put his son, Karim, on the ticket with him. The younger Wade is a key member of his father's Cabinet.