Massive protest in Senegal opposing third term president (40134)

Jan. 31 (GIN) – Hundred of thousands of Senegalese filled the streets of the capital city Dakar this week to express their outrage at a recent court ruling giving aging and unpopular president, Abdoulaye Wade, the right to seek an unprecedented third term.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons Tuesday to disperse crowds mostly of young people. As night fell, protestors reportedly threw stones at police and burned tires. Three people were reported killed in the melee.

Senegal’s constitution limits a president to two terms. However, President Wade argued the rule does not apply to him because it became law after he was elected.

All the leaders of the opposition attended Tuesday’s rally, as well as former candidate Youssou N’Dour, whose qualifying signatures were ruled insufficient. As the demonstration got going, the leaders of M23, who organized the event, told people to sit on the floor to express their wish for peace.

As they sat down, they sang: “the old man is dead…” and “We have had enough. We are taking notice. Society is moving. We respect our Senegal.”

The crowds held their arms in the air, clapping before crossing their fists in the air to indicate that Wade should put an end to his presidency.

Speaking to a reporter, protestor Aliou Thoum said: “I am even asking myself what country I am in. It is a country where peace has reigned.. . It is time for (Wade) to go.” Elections are scheduled for Feb. 26.