Africa

Senegal police 'shot anti-Wade protesters' in Podor

  • 30 January 2012
  • From the section Africa
Senegal's President, Abdoulaye Wade (pictured in 2010) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Abdoulaye Wade was first elected in 2000, ending 40 years of rule by the Socialist Party

Police shot and killed two people in Senegal during protests over a decision by the Constitutional Council that President Abdoulaye Wade could seek a third term, witnesses have said.

A 60-year-old woman and a teenage boy died as police broke up the protests in the northern town of Podor, they say.

Senegal's constitution has a two-term limit but officials ruled this does not include Mr Wade's first term, which began before the clause was adopted.

Elections are due on 26 February.

Senegal's highest court confirmed Friday's decision to allow Mr Wade, 85, to stand.

The court also barred singer Youssou N'Dour and two other opposition candidates from standing.

The court had argued that it could not verify many of the signatures Mr N'Dour had gathered to support his candidacy.

The ruling was a "constitutional coup d'etat", the singer said.

"Senegal and its people are sick. We have been betrayed by this shameful decision. I say shameful because neither the will of the Senegalese people nor the opinions of experts in constitutional law have been heard. Mr Wade has imposed his will and won the day," Mr N'Dour said.

Security has remained tight in Dakar following Friday's clashes between opposition supporters and government troops.

Opposition parties and activists have called for "national resistance" against Mr Wade's bid.

An eyewitness in Podor told Amnesty International that the police opened fire on the demonstration.

"We were walking peacefully when suddenly security forces dressed in blue and belonging to the gendarmerie fired at the marchers with live bullets. People fell in front of me," the witness said.

Mr Wade was first elected in 2000, ending 40 years of rule by the Socialist Party.

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