Senegal Opposition Vows to Continue Protests

Posted February 15th, 2012 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Opposition groups in Senegal are calling for a mass demonstration Wednesday in the capital, Dakar, to protest President Abdoulaye Wade's decision to run for a third term.

The planned demonstration comes a day after police prevented a group of youths from holding a permanent sit-in at a central square in Dakar.

But the M-23 Movement, which has been organizing protests, vowed to hold its march to Dakar's Independence Square Wednesday, despite threats of another government ban.

Senegal's interior ministry has said the march is not authorized, and warned that unspecified action may be taken to “ensure the safety of people and property.”

Moubarack Lo, a Senegalese West Africa analyst, told VOA that it is unclear how police will respond to the demonstrators.

“We don't know what police will do today. Normally, marches are free in Senegal. If you follow the constitution, you do not need an authorization from the government. You have to tell them, 'We are going to have a march.' This is what M-23 did, but the ministry of interior said the march was not authorized.”

The 85-year-old Mr. Wade has faced violent opposition to his bid for a third term, despite a two-term limit. Last month, a court agreed that the limit did not apply to him because it came into effect after he was first elected in 2000.

Thirteen candidates are competing against Mr. Wade, including his former allies, Macky Sall and Idrissa Seck. A run-off will be held if no one wins more than half the total vote.