PROTESTS erupted across Senegal earlier this week after supporters of an opposition political figure accused of rape came to blows with authorities in the capital Dakar.
According to various media reports, controversy has dogged Ousmane Sonko, who finished third in the 2019 elections that saw President Macky Sall win a second term.
According to reports, an employee of a beauty salon filed rape charges against Sonko.
Sonko, who is considered a future presidential contender in the West African state, denied the charges in a series of Twitter posts late on Sunday, saying he had visited the salon for massages to relieve back pain, writes TRT World. He said the accusations were a political plot created by the president.
Sonko stated on Twitter: ‘They’ve been plotting since 2019! But it will not pass. I call on all friends, militant citizens, sympathizers and all Senegalese in love with the truth not to accept that the project of a new Senegal is not scuttled by Macky Sall and his acolytes.’
However, some social media users were not pleased with the way ‘rape apologists’ have come out in defence of Sonko, with some users saying he needed to be treated like an average citizen accused of rape and not a politician.
According to local media reports, at least 43 people were arrested in Dakar after the riots erupted on Monday and three others in Ziguinchor and Casamance in the south of the country. The majority of them were still in detention on Tuesday morning.
According to French-language pan-African weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, several political figures also went to the MP’s home on Monday.
Among them, the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, came ‘to show his solidarity and condemn the violence against the activists and sympathisers’ of Sonko.