Photo by Seyllou/AFP via Getty Images.

Senegal Erupts into Protests Over COVID-19 Curfews

Senegal Erupts Into Protests Over COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

Youths have taken to the streets of major cities in Senegal to protest economic hardships which have resulted from the curfew and ban on regional travel amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Protests have erupted in Dakara, Mbacké, Touba, Tambacounda and Diourbel with youths taking to the streets to protest against the curfew and ban on regional travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Clashes have also occurred between the protesters and security forces in Senegal according to reports by Aljazeera. The lockdown measures have been in effect for almost three months now as part of efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.

According to AFP, at least 70 protesters have been arrested thus far. However, the protests are set to continue indefinitely with President Macky Sall having extended the lockdown measures to the end of June.

Unrest in the religious city of Touba prompted the caliph of the Mouride Brotherhood, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke, to make a late-night television appearance. Mbacke appealed to protesters saying, "Go home. Tomorrow we will look at the source of the problems and how to address them. I don't think we have ever seen this in Touba."

Similar protests recently erupted in Guinea with six protesters losing their lives following clashes with the police and security forces. Roadblocks set up by authorities in Coyah and Dubreka sparked unrest with protesters claiming that they were being mistreated and extorted by authorities when entering and exiting the capital city.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Africa now stands at just over 160 000 cases and at leat 4600 reported deaths. Senegal has just under 4000 cases and 45 deaths while Guinea has approximately 3933 cases and 23 deaths according to BBC's Coronavirus in Africa tracker.

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