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Opposition chief detained as Senegal tensions rise

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Senegalese opposition politician Ousmane Sonko was forcibly faraway from his car by safety forces Thursday after his supporters have been dispersed by teargas, in a brand new bout of pressure forward of presidential elections due subsequent 12 months.

The incidents befell after the postponement of a politically-charged trial which will decide Sonko’s eligibility for upcoming presidential elections, whose date was additionally introduced on Thursday.

In video footage broadcast stay on social networks, the politician — who got here third within the 2019 presidential election and has declared himself a candidate for the 2024 race — is seen being forcibly faraway from the backseat of his car by uniformed males.

They’re seen breaking the window, whereas Sonko is heard saying he refused to get out.

The boys then open the door and pull the politician out by the arm.

After resisting for a couple of moments, Sonko allowed himself to be taken away.

The police prefecture later confirmed that he was taken residence.

The incidents come amid rising pressure within the West African nation, which has a basic fame for stability in a area the place political turbulence is widespread.

Earlier, safety forces had used tear fuel to disperse a few hundred Sonko supporters who have been making an attempt to enter the courtroom within the capital Dakar.

Sonko, 48, has loved a speedy political rise thanks partially to his reputation with younger folks.

However he has repeatedly been summoned to courtroom over the previous two years.

On this case, Sonko is being sued by Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang for “defamation, insults and forgery.”

As with previous hearings, there was a big police presence on the streets of Dakar forward of Thursday’s proceedings.

A stampede adopted Sonko’s entrance to the courtroom, with guards stopping supporters from coming into the room, which was already filled with journalists and members of the opposition.

The trial then opened, however the decide ordered a postponement till March 16.

Sonko had been anticipated in courtroom on February 2 however didn’t seem. His legal professionals claimed he had not acquired a summons.

On Wednesday night, Sonko introduced that he would seem in courtroom Thursday and known as on “all Senegalese” to affix him there.

In March 2021, Sonko was arrested over rape allegations, triggering violence wherein round a dozen folks have been killed.

A decide has ordered him to face trial within the rape case, although the trial date will not be but recognized.

Sonko claims the regulation courts are getting used to sideline him — a cost denied by the authorities.

In recent times, a number of different outstanding opponents of the president have had their political careers minimize quick by authorized instances.

The subsequent presidential elections have been scheduled for February 25, 2024, authorities additionally introduced on Thursday.