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Senegal: Week Before Elections Police and Protesters Clash in Dakar

Home of great African political leaders such as Cheikh Anta Diop and Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegal used to be the beacon of Democracy in Africa.  Not anymore.

A week before the presidential elections, Senegal is mired in pre-electoral violence sparked by the candidacy of incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade's seeking a third term in office. Since Wade's candidacy was approved by the Constitutional Council, the opposition has organized street protests against Wade's seeking another term,  which, according to them, is a clear violation of the country's constitution.

For the past six days protesters and police have been engaged in a face-off which culminated in violent clashes on  February 17. Amnesty International reports that many protesters have been intimidated and arrested. Cheikh Bamba Dièye, one of the presidential candidates, was arrested and detained briefly for participating in the protests [fr].

Photos of make-shift barricades. Image by momonad1

Photos of make-shift barricades. Image by momonad1

The violent clashes have been escalating for the past four days, and discussed and documented in photos and videos on social networks. The hashtags used by Twitter users to report on the clashes and the pre-electoral events in Senegal are #sunu2012 and #kebetu and #M23.

Ten people have been injured so far in the clashes. Here are some of the videos and photos of the scene in Dakar:

Injured man at protest in Dakar. Image by Basile Niane

Injured man at protest in Dakar. Image by Basile Niane

This video of a policeman throwing a grenade into a mosque has outraged many Senegalese:

More violence around the mosque:

Man trying to avoid tear gas. Image by Alioune Diop

Man trying to avoid tear gas. Image by Alioune Diop

A video by blogger Basile Niane at the protest at Place de l'indépendance:

Police in Dakar getting ready. Image by Mr Boombastic Pio

Police in Dakar getting ready. Image by Mr Boombastic Pio

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