Resistance grows, clashes spread over election postponement in Senegal


SENEGAL – Violent protests in Senegal against the postponement of presidential elections have spread across the country, with the first fatality reported.

A report by BBC new showed that a student died in clashes with police on Friday in the northern city of Saint-Louis, an opposition leader and a local hospital source said.

In the capital Dakar, security forces reportedly fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.

The 25 February elections were delayed until 15 December, with President Macky Sall denying clinging on to power.

Read more: President Sall postpones presidential polls in Senegal indefinitely

Sall had earlier called off the polls indefinitely, arguing this was needed to resolve a dispute over the eligibility of presidential candidates.

Lawmakers later extended Sall’s mandate by 10 months.

Opponents of the move had warned that Senegal’s reputation as a bastion of democracy in an unstable region of West Africa was on the line.

Opposition leader, Khalifa Sall, who was not related to the president, earlier called the election delay a “constitutional coup.”

Sall said he was ready to step down, but wanted to leave the country stable and peaceful.

The death of the student in Saint-Louis was reported by Khalifa Sall in a post on social media.

“The hearts of all democrats bleed at this outburst of clashes provoked by the unjustified halting of the electoral process,” he said.

The death was confirmed by a local hospital source speaking on condition of anonymity, and by an official at the university the student attended.

The Senegalese authorities had not publicly commented on the issue.

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