Senegalese security forces fired tear gas on Wednesday in Dakar at the mayor of Dakar and deputies who were trying to go to the opponent Ousmane Sonko's house, blocked at his home by the police in a context of growing political tensions, noted an AFP journalist.
The authorities also banned a demonstration supposed to mobilize supporters of Mr. Sonko in Dakar, on the eve of a trial on which his presidential candidacy could depend in a year.
Security forces set up roadblocks in the streets leading to Mr. Sonko's home. A cordon of police in riot gear blocked the passage of Mr. Sonko's vehicle at the end of his street as he left his home in the capital, images broadcast live on social networks showed. After a brief exchange, Mr. Sonko returned home.
His ally the mayor of Dakar Guy Marius Sagna and other deputies tried to visit him. As they approached the Keur Gorgui district, the security forces fired numerous tear gas canisters at the elected officials wearing their scarves, as well as at the journalists who accompanied them.
The mayor was shot in the right thigh and later images posted on social media show him lying in a clinic, talking about the events after receiving treatment.
These incidents are an illustration of the growing tensions less than a year from the presidential election and which raise fears of violence in a country known as a rare island of stability in a troubled region.
The trial of Mr. Sonko on Thursday promises to be a risky meeting.
Mr. Sonko "cannot leave his home since last night. He has to go to marches, in Guédiawaye for example, and he cannot go there. We do not know why, there is no decision of justice placing him under house arrest," Ousseynou Ly, spokesperson for Pastef, Mr. Sonko's party, told AFP.
The prefect of Dakar Mor Talla Tine also banned by decree a demonstration scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. He invokes "real threats to public order" and the existence of a construction site on the chosen route.
The opposition called for demonstrations throughout the country on Wednesday to denounce the "instrumentalization" of justice and the "arbitrary" arrests, according to the organizers.
Gatherings are authorized outside Dakar.
A meeting around Mr. Sonko had been authorized Tuesday in the capital. In front of thousands of people, he said he was "ready to (fight)". "On the 14th, 15th and 16th (March), authorization or not, we will face (President) Macky Sall, his police and his gendarmerie," he said.
Mr. Sonko is due to appear on Thursday for defamation against a minister. This legal file and another for alleged rape have put a mortgage on his presidential candidacy and have been sources of tension for two years. Mr. Sonko shouts at the plot hatched by the power to eliminate him politically.
In addition to socio-economic concerns, the doubt that President Macky Sall has about whether or not he intends to run for a third term also contributes to pitting the opposing camps against each other.
03/15/2023 17:41:57 - Dakar (AFP) - © 2023 AFP