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An Opposition Leader’s Arrest Threatens Senegal’s Stability

MIN READMar 12, 2021 | 20:48 GMT

Protesters gather in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on March 8, 2021, after the country's opposition leader was indicted on rape charges.

(JOHN WESSELS/AFP via Getty Images)

The arrest of Senegalese President Macky Sall’s opposition rival has placed his government in the hot seat by galvanizing not only support for the opposition’s pro-democracy agenda, but simmering public anger over the country’s ongoing economic slowdown. Senegal has been engulfed in a surge of anti-government protests following the March 3 arrest of charismatic opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who was formally indicted on March 8. Sonko faces rape charges, which he and his supporters view as baseless and a politically motivated attempt by President Sall and his ruling Alliance for the Republic (APR) party to remove potential opponents ahead of the country’s upcoming elections. Although it’s unclear whether Sall will pursue a third term, or whether it would even be constitutional to do so, Sall and Sonko (or their political allies) will likely run against each other in the 2024 presidential election....

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