Protesters rally round Senegalese opposition politician, Ousmane Sonko, ahead rape trial

Protesters rally round Senegalese opposition politician, Ousmane Sonko, ahead rape trial

Supporters of Senegal’s opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, surrounded his home to block his imminent arrest by the Senegalese police.

Messages have been making the rounds on social media calling for supporters to act as Sonko’s “shields” and defend their leader from arrest.

Clashes broke out outside Sonko’s residence, where he has been residing while refusing to appear in a court in Dakar, the capital.

Three of Sonko’s supporters were injured in the process, Senegal’s state news agency reported.

Senegal’s interior ministry said a police officer died following an accident involving an armoured personnel carrier.

The main opposition leader was due to present himself to the criminal court ahead of his trial on Tuesday over alleged rape and death threats against a beauty salon employee in 2021.

Mr Sonko and his associates deny the charges and say they are a plan by the Senegalese ruling powers to prevent him from contesting the 2024 presidential election.

Recall that Sonko recently received a 6-month suspended prison term in a defamation case and vowed that he would no longer respond to court summons unless his safety was secured by the Senegalese authorities.

Sonko’s lawyers told reporters at a news conference in Paris on Monday that the young politician had not yet received a court invitation but would appear “if conditions were met.”

Meanwhile Sonko has appealed against a sentence for libel that could disqualify him from contesting next year’s presidential election.

The appeal was filed on Friday last week at the country’s highest court, according to his lawyer.

Recall that hundreds held protests in Dakar last week in the latest show of protest against President Macky Sall’s potential bid for a third term in the upcoming February 2024 poll.

Senegal’s new constitution, adopted in 2016, limits presidential terms to two five-year mandates.

However, the incumbent president said he could technically run because the new constitution reset the clock on his number of terms.

i-News Nigeria

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