Over the past two weeks, Senegal has witnessed a series of intense protests that lead to significant loss of life, injuries and arrests. At least 16 people have been killed, with 350 individuals injured and more than 500 arrested. Manifestations of dissent began following the sentencing of the popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
Supporters of Ousmane Sonko argue that the verdict against him was politically motivated, as he poses a significant challenge to President Macky Sall’s government in the upcoming elections scheduled for February 2024.
A worrying marker has emerged during the protests, as security forces have widely used firearms, setting a negative precedent for Senegal. The excessive use of force by the authorities has raised serious concerns about human rights violations and has drawn criticism from both domestic and international audiences.
In the aftermath of the demonstrations, the United Nations has expressed alarm over the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the country. Indeed, the government’s response to the protests signals its willingness to infringe on civil liberties.
Currently, given the volatility of the political environment in Senegal, the situation remains tense. Further protests could erupt in the coming days or weeks, and more are expected in proximity to the 2024 elections.
International organizations and multinational enterprises operating in Senegal are advised to closely monitor the situation and prepare contingency plans in case of future protests. Additionally, in order to mitigate potential disruptions, a review of supply chains and logistical arrangements is recommended.
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