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Africa

Senegal opposition call new anti-Wade protest after Dakar death

media A demonstrator is arrested in Dakar on Sunday Reuters/Joe Penney

Senegal’s opposition has called for fresh protests on Monday after a week of clashes over President Abdoulaye Wade standing for reelection that has seen two deaths. A man was killed in the capital Dakar on Sunday as protesters clashed with police.

The opposition 23 June Movement (M23) has called for a demonstration in the capital’s Independence Square at 3pm Monday, continuing protests in a stormy campaign in which a total of six people have been killed.

Sunday’s victitm was not a protester but a young man who had gone to the bakery to buy bread, according to imam Abdoul Aziz Ndoye, who was his tutor.

“I cannot understand any justification for such an act,” the Muslim cleric said.

He has agreed with the man’s family to take legal action.

Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters threw stones after prayers at a mosque in Dakar Sunday.

Local religious leaders, joined by the M23, accuse the police of desecrating the mosque because a police officer fired a tear gas grenade into it on Friday.

An apology from the Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom failed to end the demonstrations.

The M23 is a coalition of 10 opposition candidates along with civil society groups that opposes Wade’s reelection.

It accuses the 85-year-old president of breaking the constitution that he himself amended to limit presidents to two terms in office and has called for “popular resistance” to his candidacy.

Former prime minister Idrissa Seck has been given responsibility of organising its activities in the run-up to the vote in 26 February.

“We’re having a strange sort of campaign where the candidates aren’t fighting each other,” one opposition official told RFI, pointing out that all 10 opposition candidates only criticise the incumbent in speeches and leaflets.

Wade is to visit the regions of Diourbel and Fatick during the week before winding up his campaign in Dakar.

This weekend 23,000 soldiers and paramilitaries voted, so that they could be free to police the voting on 26 February.

The first of about 40 African Union observers, led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, arrived on Saturday.

A 90-strong team of European Union observers has been in the country since January.

Portraits of the candidates  on RFI's website in French.

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