Senegal opposition activist Alioune Tine freed

Opposition activist Alioune Tine Alioune Tine and the opposition want "national resistance" to the president's bid for a third term

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Prominent Senegalese activist Alioune Tine has been released without charge after two days in detention, as the opposition plans more protests.

Mr Tine is a member of the June 23 Movement (M23), formed last year to oppose President Abdoulaye Wade's plans to run for a third term.

Two people were shot dead on Monday in Podor town during protests after a court ruled Mr Wade's bid was legal.

The M23 say they intend to march on the presidential palace in the capital.

Elections in the West African country - often held up as one of Africa's model democracies - are due on 26 February.


The BBC's Abdourahmane Dia in the capital, Dakar, says there are fears Tuesday's demonstration could degenerate into violence as it has not been authorised.


When Abdoulaye Wade swept to power in 2000, he was the toast of Senegal - hailed by the youth as the hope of the West African country. Propelled from veteran opposition leader to a hands-on, apparently dynamic, president, Mr Wade campaigned on the platform of his slogan Sopi - "change".

Senegalese now complain that his leadership has been a change for the worse. His opponents say Mr Wade's most egregious offence is his determination to impose his son, Karim, on the nation as Senegal's next leader. Karim Wade is nothing short of a super minister in his father's cabinet .

A shaven-headed octogenarian with owl eyes, Mr Wade switches effortlessly from Wolof to English to French - and from Senegalese grands boubous to smart Western suits. He loves showing off models in his presidential office of his pet projects and grand plans - for Senegal, West Africa and the continent.

But the malaise goes deeper than the opposition. From the monstrous Renaissance Monument that Mr Wade had built - which offended traditional, cultural and Islamic sensibilities - the Senegalese have long felt he has stopped listening to their wishes and needs. Senegal is also tired of a president who swans around the globe as a self-styled international conflict mediator, when their own country has its own problems that need resolving.

But Mr Wade is a cunning political survivor. The question is - in the face of such overwhelming public opposition to his continued presence on the political scene - can he pull another trick from under his sleeve or out of the hat.

But the opposition says it has a constitutional right to hold mass rallies across the country.

Our reporter says the bodies of two demonstrators killed in the northern town of Podor on Monday have been sent to Dakar for autopsies.

An eyewitness in Podor told Amnesty International that the police opened fire on an anti-Wade demonstration in the town.

"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.

After his release, Mr Tine told the AFP news agency that police had asked him "many questions on the demonstrations" planned by M23.

The director of Amnesty International in Senegal called for restraint from both sides on Tuesday.

"We are calling to the government to allow people to demonstrate peacefully. We are also calling to demonstrators to really be responsible of any kind of trouble that may arise from these demonstrations," Seydi Gassama told the BBC's World Today programme.

"We have to make sure their followers are informed, that this right doesn't mean that they can attack security forces, throw stones, because it is this kind of behaviour that is the basis of police repression," he said.

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

At the same time as allowing Mr Wade to stand, the court ruled singer Youssou N'Dour and two other opposition candidates could not run.

The move has come in for international criticism.


"We are concerned that the decision by President Wade to seek a third term... could jeopardise the decades-long record that Senegal has built up on the continent for democracy, democratic development and political stability," Reuters news agency quotes US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns as saying.

France, the former colonial power, regretted that not all political viewpoints would be represented in the forthcoming elections, its foreign ministry said.

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

Once a veteran opposition leader himself, Mr Wade was first elected in 2000 - ending 40 years of rule by the Socialist Party.

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