Supporters of the main Senegalese opposition presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko clashed with the Senegalese police force as they were dispersed for “illegal gathering,” according to the party’s statement.
On Saturday, 15th of October 2022, Ousmane Sonko, candidate for the 2024 presidential election, announced to his followers that he would embark on a national tour with mainly “proximity visits” to relatives, religious leaders and officials of his party.
The tour kick-started in Mbour, a town 80Km south of Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The tour was immediately brought to a halt after the gendarmerie (a military force with law enforcement duties among the civilian population) intervened to disperse hundreds of followers that were following Mr Sonko, according to images broadcast by his party’s Jotna TV.
Mr Sonko accused the gendarmerie of “executing illegal orders”, in images posted on social networks showing the deployment of police in the areas he was visiting around Mbour. Captured in a video, Mr Sonko was seen in altercations with the police in which they (the police) requested Mr Sonko to avoid “a crowd” and “not to occupy the public highway,” which he (Mr Sonko) refuted.
Mr Sonko has been one of Senegal’s most critical and controversial figures. The 49-year-old has been vocal against corruption, and economic and political interference by the former French colonial power. He is seen by many young Senegalese as a liberator and Neo-Pan Africanist.