Thousands of Senegalese demonstrated Wednesday afternoon in Dakar against the rejection of the national list of the opposition for the next legislative elections and more generally against the government, AFP journalists noted.
A dense crowd largely draped in the national colors green, gold and red gathered at the Place de la Nation in a festive atmosphere of music and song as the political tensions of the moment raised fears of a reawakening of passions and violence of March 2021.
The main opponent to the government, Ousmane Sonko, a priori excluded from the legislative process by a recent decision of the Constitutional Council, was welcomed with cheers on his arrival on this vast esplanade stretching around a huge obelisk commemorating independence. This is the usual place for demonstrations, at a distance from the presidency and the political center.
An opposition coalition has called for demonstrations against President Macky Sall on various themes: the maneuvers he is accused of using to politically eliminate his opponents, his alleged intention to run for a third term in 2024, but also price increases.
Since the application for authorization to demonstrate was filed, these concerns have been joined by the issue of the participation of Mr. Sonko and a number of opposition figures in the July 31 legislative elections.
The Constitutional Council created a situation fraught with uncertainty when it confirmed Friday night the rejection of the national list of Yewwi Askan Wi, led by Sonko’s party.
This means that Mr. Sonko, third in the 2019 presidential elections and declared candidate for the 2024 elections, will be excluded from the elections.
The uncertainty maintained until the end as to whether or not to allow the demonstration on Wednesday has increased the fear of outbursts.
Yewwi Askan Wi had declared Tuesday ready to brave “en masse” a possible ban.
The prefect of Dakar waited until Wednesday morning to issue the authorization.
The demonstration is also seen as a test of the opposition’s ability to mobilize its troops.
Sonko’s prosecution in an alleged rape case contributed to several days of rioting in March 2021 that left at least a dozen people dead.
The legislative elections are aimed at renewing the 165 members of the National Assembly, which is largely dominated by the presidential coalition.