Security forces in Senegal have killed at least three people, including a 16-year-old boy, during protests in recent days denouncing the president’s decision to delay elections, Amnesty International said Tuesday.
The human rights group said in a statement that protesters were killed during a crackdown in the capital, Dakar, as well as the cities of Saint-Louis and Ziguinchor on February 9 and 10, Landing Camara, 16, killed by a gunshot to the head.
Another large demonstration by civil society, the opposition and unions was expected on Tuesday evening, but organizers said authorities had not authorized it. “This is everything we are fighting against,” one of the organizers, Amadou Samb, told the Associated Press.
REGIONAL AUTHORITY CONDEMNS DELAY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN SENEGAL
The Senegalese government cut access to mobile Internet services on Tuesday. The Communications Ministry said “hateful and subversive” messages were circulating online.
Senegal saw more than a week of protests after President Macky Sall delayed elections scheduled for late February, citing time needed to resolve controversies over the disqualification of some candidates and a conflict between the legislative and judicial branches of government .
The Senegalese Parliament voted last week in favor of postponing the elections until December 15. The Constitutional Council should decide within a few days on its agreement.
Sall was accused of trying to delay his departure from office, which he denied in an interview with the AP last week.
The postponement has sparked regional and international concerns that one of West Africa’s most democratic countries could go the way of some of its neighbors, mired in coups and insecurity.
The United Nations on Tuesday expressed deep concern about the tense situation in Senegal and called for prompt, thorough and independent investigations into the killings of protesters.
“It is crucial that the authorities unequivocally order security forces to respect and guarantee human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said Liz Throssell , spokesperson for the UN human rights office.
She called on the government to ensure that the proposed national dialogue is as inclusive as possible. Senegal’s president said a national dialogue could begin as early as this week, but he warned the country was in a period of fragility and political actors needed to exercise caution.
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The West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS began a three-day parliamentary diplomatic mission to Senegal on Monday to discuss the situation.