scenes of joy in Senegal after the release from prison of opponent Ousmane Sonko before the presidential election

This liberation, which comes after deadly unrest, was celebrated Thursday evening until late at night in Dakar. The election is to be held on March 24.



Reading time: 1 min

Thousands of Senegalese spontaneously took to the streets of the capital Dakar, upon the announcement of the release from prison of opponent Ousmane Sonko and his second, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, presidential candidate, on March 14, 2024. (SEYLLOU /AFP)

A decisive turning point just over a week before the presidential election on March 24. Imprisoned since last July and April, the Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko and his second, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, presidential candidate, main rival of President Macky Sall, were released from prison on Thursday March 14, ten days before the election, provoking the jubilation of thousands of Dakar residents who spontaneously took to the streets of the capital.

Quickly, several hundred supporters gathered in front of the house of Ousmane Sonko, the main actor in a deadly standoff with power since 2021. Aby Diao came to express her joy: “He is the hope of Senegal! We expect change and once again, our country is developing“, rejoices the demonstrator.

“It’s victory!”

Supporters sang slogans all night in tribute to Ousmane Sonko, whose presidential candidacy had been rejected for legal reasons by the Constitutional Council in January 2021. He then chose his right-hand man, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, for replace. Also in detention, he was released at the same time as his leader. “That means it’s victory! Tomorrow he will win the elections and the country will change“, rejoices a supporter, Ndiogo Diouf.

However, the candidate only has a few days left to campaign because of an electoral calendar shortened by the postponement of the vote scheduled for February and the amnesty law passed at the beginning of March which allowed his release. But Matar Seck, president of a movement supporting Ousmane Sonko, is not worried afterwards: “Without him, we were losing the caravan. When we were told about his release from prison, we traveled the country. We came back to welcome him and tomorrow we will go in the caravan again!“.

We have seen your support and solidarity. We are very happy“, for his part, launched Bassirou Diomaye Faye, sky blue tunic and white cap, greeting the crowd from the sunroof of his car which surrounded his procession, announcing the holding of a press conference on Friday. His candidacy is part of the 19 selected for the March 24 vote, considered the most open presidential election since Independence in 1960.

source site-28