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At least 4 people dead in Senegal protests

Riot police control an intersection near the National Assembly during a demonstration in Senegal's capital Dakar June 23, 2011. Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade has withdrawn a proposed change to the country's electoral law, the government said, after the bill sparked clashes between riot police and protesters in the heart of the capital. Despite the concession, protesters and members of the security forces, using tear gas and water cannons, fought cat and mouse battles in the streets around the presidency and parliament. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (SENEGAL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)


Four people have died in clashes with the police, in demonstrations calling for the release of opposition candidate Ousmane Sonko, said Senegal’s Interior Minister, Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome.

Sonko was arrested Wednesday on a rape charge which he has since denied, saying the accusations are politically motivated. Protests in Dakar, Senegal have continued since then with his supporters calling for his immediate release, chanting “Free Sonko”

On Friday, demonstrators lobbed rocks and other objects at security forces, put up street barricades and burned tyres, while police fired tear gas in order to dislodge them.


Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome swore to use “all the means necessary for a return to order”, in what he calls an “organised insurrection.”

Sonko is now also accused of disrupting public order, on top of the rape allegation charge.


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