Senegal bans opposition party

Lazy eyes listen


The Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics, and Fraternity (PASTEF), the party of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, has been disbanded by Senegal’s government, which accuses the coalition of gathering people to “insurgency movements.”

Frequent violent protests, sponsored by the party, have resulted in “serious” consequences, including many deaths and injuries, as well as looting and property destruction, according to the Senegalese interior ministry.

“The most recent serious disturbances to public order were recorded during the first week of June 2023, following those recorded in March 2021,” the ministry said.

Sonko was arrested and charged with new felonies, including insurrection plotting, and was held in the Sebikotane prison.

On Monday, supporters of the opposition leader came to the streets of Dakar and Ziguinchor, battling with police and accusing authorities of aiming to sideline their candidate ahead of the presidential election in February 2024.

Following Monday’s protests in Ziguinchor, Senegalese Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome reported “two lifeless male” bodies were recovered.

After Sonko received a separate two-year prison sentence for immoral behavior with minors under the age of 21, rioting erupted across the country in June, killing at least 16 people. However, he was not transferred to a jail.

The PASTEF party has accused President Macky Sall’s administration of political witch-hunting and has called on demonstrators to come to the streets to reject attempts to intimidate Sonko from standing in the February presidential elections.

The interior ministry, on the other hand, said on Monday that the opposition party’s acts are a “serious and permanent breach of the obligations of political parties” under the country’s constitution.

A spokesperson of the PASTEF was quoted by Reuters as saying the party will “attack this decision, the Senegalese people will resist.”

Concerns about further violence following the imprisonment of the opposition leader on Monday prompted authorities to restrict internet access in the former French colony to prevent the spread of “hateful messages.