Senegalese authorities have banned a massive silent march that civil society called for in Dakar on Tuesday February 13, against the postponement of presidential elections and the extension of the mandate of head of state Macky Sell, objects of a large movement of indignation. .
The march is being called into question, Agence France-Presse (AFP) Elimane Hebi Cain, one of the organizers on behalf of the new collective R Sunu Election (“Let’s protect our election”), has informed. The collective, which brings together several dozen union organizations and civic and religious groups, should speak later, he said. Mr. Cain confirmed receiving a letter from the prefecture banning the march. A letter posted on social media expressed the protest “Risk of serious disruption” Circulation.
R Sunu Elle asked Senegalese to gather en masse from 3pm in a district close to the center of the capital. “We call on all Senegalese to come peacefully and participate in this silent march to say no to the postponement of the elections, to say no to the extension of President Mackie Sale’s mandate”Abdu Khafor Kandji, on behalf of Y en a marre, one of the groups forming Aar Sunu Election, said to the press on Monday.
Demonstrations are subject to a permit regime and authorities have refused to allow numerous protest rallies in recent years. Banned demonstrations have typically degenerated into clashes, such as on Friday, when large-scale protests were suppressed by security forces. In which three people were killed. Many Senegalese people wanted to respond to the appeal – to unknown perpetrators – broadcast on social networks, but the police and tribes stopped them by force.
Senegal is in the grip of its most serious political crisis in recent decades as Mackie Sale announced the postponement of presidential elections on February 3, three weeks before the deadline. His supporters in the National Assembly and supporters of disqualified candidate Karim Wade supported postponing the election until December 15 and keeping President Saal in office until his successor takes office – thus, in early 2025.
possibility of remission
This last-minute change, in a country praised for its stability and democratic practices, is exceptional “Constitutional Rebellion”. The opposition suspects the presidential camp of settling with the calendar as it ensures the defeat of its candidate, the prime minister, Amadou Bani, who was appointed as his successor by Mackie Sale. She is suspected of maneuvering so that the president, whose term officially ends on April 2, remains in power. The head of state, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, reiterates that he will not seek re-election.
The escalation of the crisis raises fears of new episodes of violence similar to those the country experienced in March 2021 and June 2023 over the fate of anti-establishment opposition Osman Sonko, who was declared a presidential candidate, now detained and excluded from the race. . The ambiguity Mr. Sale maintained about his candidacy for a third term then fueled tensions, until he announced in July 2023 that he would step down. According to human rights defenders, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since 2021.
The authorities’ response to recent mobilization efforts, use of force, arrests, ill-treatment suffered by a number of journalists, temporary suspension of mobile data and briefly cutting the signal of a critical television station. Days of Power has attracted fresh criticism. Senegal’s main international partners have expressed their concern about the situation and more or less explicitly called for the restoration of the electoral calendar.
McKee Sale justified the postponement of the presidential election through heated disputes over the process of validating candidates. He said he wanted an uncontested election, worrying about the risk of fresh outbreaks of violence. He seconded her wish“Appeasement and Reconciliation” And proposed a dialogue to the rest of the political class. This attempt to reach raises many questions, especially on its acceptance by the opposition and the possible release of opponents Ousmane Sonko, Basirou Diomey Faye and others imprisoned since 2021. While some media have raised the possibility of a pardon, this has not been confirmed. By the President or by the Govt.