Rising protests in Senegal ahead of the country’s presidential elections underscore the country’s potential political fragility despite its reputation as one of Africa’s most democratic and stable nations.
Over the weekend further violence broke out between protesters and police in the capital and other cities, leading to the deaths of three more demonstrators. Protestors blamed the police for firing on the anti-government protests, while a government spokesman blamed opposition groups for encouraging ‘urban guerilla warfare’.
Opposition parties, although divided, were already angry that President Wade, Senegal’s 85-year old-year leader, had decided to run for a third-term, after a court overturned apparent constitutional limits. The protestor’s deaths over the weekend have increased fears that Wade is growing intolerant of dissent and renewed concerns that he might even resort to electoral fraud in order to secure re-election. (more…)