Senegal: Rival Sonko surrounded the house, tear gas shells were released on the deputy

Senegalese security forces fired tear gas in Dakar on Wednesday at Dakar’s mayor and deputy who were trying to go to the home of rival Ousmane Sonko, police barricaded their home in the context of rising political tensions, an AFP journalist he said.

Authorities also banned a demonstration to mobilize supporters of Mr Sanko in Dakar on the eve of a trial on which his presidential candidacy could depend in a year’s time.

Security forces blocked roads leading to Mr. Sonko’s home. Pictures broadcast live on social networks showed a cordon of police in riot gear blocking the path of his vehicle at the end of his street as Mr Sonko left his home in the capital. After talking for a while, Mr. Sonko returned home.

His colleague, the mayor of Dakar Guy Marius Sagna and other representatives tried to meet him. As they approached Keyur Gorgui district, police fired tear gas at the scarf-clad elected officials and accompanying journalists.

The mayor was shot in the right thigh and photos later posted on social media show him lying in a clinic, talking about the events after receiving treatment.

The incidents are examples of tensions that are rising less than a year from a presidential election and that raise fears of violence in a country known as a rare island of stability in a troubled region.

Mr Sonko’s trial on Thursday promises to be a risky meeting.

Mr. Sonko “can’t leave his house since last night. For example, he has to go to March, and he can’t go there. We don’t know why, there is no judgment of justice to put him under house arrest,” Oseniu Lee, a spokesman for Mr Sanko’s party, Pastuf, told AFP.

The prefect of Dakar Mor Talla Tine also banned by decree a demonstration scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. He calls for “genuine threats to public order” and the existence of a construction site on the chosen route.

The opposition called for demonstrations across the country on Wednesday to condemn the “subversion” of justice and the “arbitrary” arrests, according to organizers.

Assemblies are authorized outside Dakar.

Right was given a meeting with Mr Sonko on Tuesday in the capital. In front of thousands of people, he said he was “ready (to) fight”. “On 14, 15 and 16 (March), authorization or not, we will face (President) Macky Sall, his police and his gendarmerie,” he said.

Mr Sonko is due to appear on Thursday in a defamation case against a minister. This legal file and another for alleged rape have mortgaged his presidential candidacy and been a source of tension for two years. Mr. Sonko screams at the conspiracy hatched by those in power to eliminate him politically.

In addition to socio-economic concerns, doubts about whether President Macky Sall intends to run for a third term also contributed to pitting the opposing camps against each other.

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