Prominent Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko, chairman of the Senegalese Patriots for Labor, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF), was arrested on Wednesday for “disorderly conduct” in the capital, Dakar, when he was tried on a court seen in a rape case.
Sono was arrested after security forces intervened and fired tear gas at hundreds of supporters who followed his convoy on their way to court, his lawyer Bamba Cissé confirmed, Senegalese state news agency APS reported.
The announcement of Sonko’s arrest was followed by a series of demonstrations, riots and looting in Dakar and other cities in the country, without the authorities initially striking a balance between detainees or possible victims.
Sall’s deputy spokesman for the Government Alliance for the Republic (APR), Abdou Mbow, who is also Vice-President of the National Assembly, has condemned the “vandalism” and stressed that “the state will assume all of its responsibilities to keep the force in its hands.” of the law, “he argued.
“We are in a democratic country, but we cannot accept that things will be settled by force. This matter comes from a private matter,” he said, as reported by the broadcaster Radio France Internationale.
The opponent, who finished third in the 2019 presidential election, in which current President Macky Sall had the upper hand, is being investigated for alleged rape and death threats against a beauty salon employee in the African country.
Sonko had initially refused to appear in court, although he eventually agreed to do so on the advice of his lawyers. “It is not an abdication,” he said Tuesday before calling on his supporters to stay mobile.
A number of opposition MPs have appealed to the Constitutional Court against Sonko’s lifting of parliamentary immunity approved on Friday, paving the way for a lawsuit against him.