Dakar, March 9 (AFP/APP): Senegal’s opposition suspended calls for massive protests on Tuesday as calm returned to the capital, days after a rape accusation against a rival to the president sparked the West African nation’s worst unrest for years.
While tensions eased, military vehicles remained in position in the city’s government quarter. Usually seen as a haven of stability in a volatile region, the country was rocked by deadly clashes between opposition supporters and security forces which began last week and continued through Monday. At least five people were killed in the violence, which was sparked on Wednesday by the arrest of Ousmane Sonko, a government critic popular with young people.
On Tuesday, some in central Dakar — which had emptied the previous day in anticipation of unrest — predicted that tensions would ease. “I think things will calm down because Sonko has been released. He was unjustly arrested,” said Grace Baramoto, a 37-year-old who said she stayed home for two days to avoid the turmoil. “I see that the stores and supermarkets have reopened, that’s reassuring,” she added. Adama Kane, a 27-year-old law graduate, also said he thought the decision to release Sonko had cooled tempers.
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