Senegal Deploys Extra Troops Amid Electricity Riots

Posted June 28th, 2011 at 4:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Senegal has deployed riot police to government buildings and the presidential palace following violent protests over power cuts.

VOA's correspondent in Dakar says there was heavy smoke on the main road in Dakar Tuesday from burning tires and barricades.

Overnight Monday to Tuesday, demonstrators ransacked government buildings, including the national electric company's offices.

Residents in Dakar are facing extended blackouts. The state utility company Senelec says the blackouts are caused by a fuel shortage.

Power cuts have steadily worsened in Senegal and can last days in some areas, impacting the economy.

The protests follow demonstrations last week over an attempt by President Abdoulaye Wade to alter the constitution. Many opponents feared the changes would make it easier for the president to be re-elected, and place his son in line to eventually become president. Mr. Wade withdrew the proposal to change the constitution before parliament could vote.