Senegal Protests Leave Four Dead as State Blames ‘Insurrection’

Four people died in clashes between Senegalese police and protesters during what the interior minister described as an “organized insurrection” following the arrest of the country’s main opposition leader.

“We regret and condemn these terrorist acts, looting, pillaging and damage to public buildings,” Interior Minister Antoine Felix Diome said in a televised address late Friday. Diome confirmed that four people had died.

Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, 46, faces charges of disturbing public order after protests broke out while he was heading to court Wednesday to appear on a charge of rape. Sonko was accused of the assault last month by a beauty salon employee and was summoned to court after his parliamentary immunity was revoked.

Sonko came third in the West African nation’s 2019 presidential election, winning 16% of the votes. The second-placed candidate, former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, has since joined the government. President Macky Sall, 59, got 58% support and is due to end his second and final term in office allowed by the constitution in 2024.

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