Senegalese Opposition Leader Sonko Calls Out Supporters, Urges For Mass Protests

Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on Tuesday asked his supporters to go for mass protests ahead of the outcome of his trial on rape charges, reported Africa News.

Sonko told his supporters on social media that he was being illegally held by security forces. He called for a national resistance movement to defend democracy and freedoms.

“I urge all Senegalese people to come out onto the streets,” he said.

The 48-year-old Senegalese opposition leader appealed that everybody should rise up as one as power should remain in the hands of the people.

Sonko came third in the presidential elections held in 2019 and has already declared he will contest the election scheduled for next year.

He is being accused of rape and giving death threats to a woman working at a massage parlor. If he gets convicted by the court then he would not be able to contest next year’s presidential elections and could likely face up to 10 years in prison. The court’s verdict is expected on Thursday, triggering fears of violence.

Sonko denies all the allegations and he maintains that the legal troubles are nothing more than efforts by Senegalese President Macky Sall and his government to derail his candidacy.

It is feared that the tensions could result in a repeat of the deadly violence that took place back in 2021. When Sonko was arrested in 2021, several days of clashes left at least 12 people dead.

Sonko boycotted the first two sessions of the trial, citing what he called fears for his safety.

On Friday, he set out for Dakar in a caravan of freedom convoy of his supporters from Ziguinchor. The convoy resulted in clashes with the Senegalese security forces. One man died in the violence before police swooped in, took him to Dakar, and blocked access to his house in the capital.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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