The Senegalese authorities must protect the right to peaceful protest and ensure the security forces refrain from using excessive force as anti-government demonstrations are planned today in the capital Dakar, Amnesty International said.
Activists and opposition parties are due to hold a demonstration outside Parliament against proposed changes to the Electoral Code and Constitution that, if passed, would require all candidates standing in next year’s presidential election to collect the signatures of one per cent of the registered voters in seven regions of the country before being validated. The authorities announced that the protest had been unauthorized on several grounds including a 2011 decree banning all assemblies in the city centre areas.
“Peaceful opposition protests in Senegal have previously been arbitrarily banned and met with unnecessary, excessive force by the police.
The authorities must remember that peaceful protest and freedom of expression are human rights that must be respected,” said François Patuel, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.