Hundreds protest treatment of Senegal’s opposition

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Several hundred demonstrators protested Friday in Senegal’s capital, accusing the government of subjecting opposition figures to lengthy detentions.

Many of the protesters directed their anger at President Macky Sall, who has been accused by critics of interfering in judicial cases to benefit himself politically. He has denied the allegation.

“With this regime, Senegalese democracy has gone backwards. Citizens are no longer equal before the law and institutions. It is time to stop this situation,” said Moustapha Seck, a young activist at the protest.

“Macky Sall needs to understand that this country does not belong to him. He must no longer protect members of his camp who have problems with the law,” Seck added.

Senegal has long been considered a bastion of democracy in Africa and a regional leader on diplomacy issues in West Africa. When Sall was first elected in 2012, he defeated then President Abdoulaye Wade, who had sparked big demonstrations by seeking a third term in office.

Since Sall’s re-election in 2019, though, he has faced growing criticism, particularly from those who fear that he too may seek to run for president again.

On Friday, protesters called for the release of a leading member of the activist group Y’en a Marre. Mbissane Seck, known by his alias Kilifeu, was arrested on visa trafficking charges.

Earlier this year, protests erupted across Senegal after an opposition politician, Ousmane Sonko, was accused of rape. Sonko’s supporters maintain the charges were brought to derail his future political ambitions after he finished third in the last election.

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