Senegal protests - OkayAfrica

Police forces and demonstrators clash in the streets of Dakar as a man hols the senegalese flag on which he wrote "Deputees, do not betraye the people" on June 23, 2011.

Moussa Sow/AFP via Getty Images

Senegal Protests Result in First Confirmed Death

Several reports have confirmed that one protestor has been killed in demonstrations taking place in Senegal following opposition leader Ousmane Sonko's recent arrest.

At least one protester has been killed in the ongoing anti-government protests in Senegal, according to several reports. The protestor was killed during clashes with the police in Bignona, southern Casamance region, although the cause of death is still allegedly unknown and under investigation. The protests, which now enter into the third day today, are in response to the arrest of opposition figure, Ousmane Sonko, who was arrested for reportedly disturbing public order and participating in an unauthorised demonstration. His arrest comes ahead of a scheduled appearance at a Dakar court on a charge of rape.

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According to Al Jazeera, Sonko's recent arrest has triggered "the worst unrest seen in the capital of Senegal in years". Leader of the PastefLes Patriotes party and a former presidential candidate, Sonko is seen as a formidable opposition figure to current President Macky Sall especially with elections in three years' time. France24 reports that there is continued uncertainty as to whether President Sall will seek a third term in office.

Additionally, two private television stations in Senegal have been suspended after the country's National Audiovisual Regulatory Council (CNRA) accused them of being hyper focused on the current protests, BBC reports. Moreover, access to the internet and social media platforms had been temporarily restricted amid the protests.

These latest protests are however, not the first to occur this year. Protests erupted for the second time earlier this year in January over the curfew put in place as part of COVID-19 preventive measures. Senegalese youth expressed their dissatisfaction towards the curfew as it had affected their various economic activities and means to earning a livelihood.