Violent Protests Erupt in Senegal Following Presidential Election Postponement

Violent protests have erupted in Senegal following the postponement of presidential elections, spreading across the country and resulting in the first reported fatality.

The unrest escalated in the northern city of Saint-Louis, where clashes between students and police claimed the life of a student on Friday, as confirmed by an opposition leader and a local hospital source.

In the capital city of Dakar, security forces utilized tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds as tensions flared.

The presidential elections, originally scheduled for February 25th, were postponed by Members of Parliament until December 15th, citing the need to resolve disputes over the eligibility of presidential candidates. President Macky Sall had earlier suspended the polls indefinitely, prompting criticism and warnings from opponents regarding the nation’s democratic integrity.

Opposition leader Khalifa Sall denounced the election delay as a “constitutional coup,” emphasizing the profound impact on Senegal’s democratic principles.

The tragic death of the student in Saint-Louis was mourned by Khalifa Sall, who condemned the clashes sparked by the disruption of the electoral process.

Amidst the turmoil, Senegal’s authorities have yet to publicly address the issue, heightening concerns over the escalating violence and political instability.

The protests, which began last weekend, intensified on Friday in Dakar, with demonstrators engaging in confrontations with security forces, underscoring the deep-seated frustration and discontent among the populace.

President Sall, while asserting he does not intend to seek re-election, faces accusations of seeking to retain power or unduly influencing his successor.

The presidential race, initially featuring twenty candidates, saw several exclusions following decisions by the Constitutional Council, fueling further controversy and unrest.

West Africa’s regional bloc, Ecowas, has urged Senegal’s political leaders to urgently restore the electoral calendar in compliance with the constitution, emphasizing the importance of upholding democratic norms and stability in the region.

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