Rubber bullets and tear gas were fired at the capital of Senegal on Monday by police following supporters of an influential religious leader smashed cars and shop windows in street riots
Muslim leader Cheikh Bethio Thioune Supporters smashed the windscreens of more than 50 cars and hurled rocks through the windows of banks and restaurants on Monday morning as they demanded his release from prison. Thioune is being held in police custody after he was found guilty of complicity in the murder of two of his supporters earlier this year. The leader was transferred to Dakar’s municipal prison last week, shortly after demonstrations in the nearby town of Thies against his imprisonment.
One of the his supporters named Cheikh say the president needs to pass an order to release Thioune before next week, if not, there will be more violence. . The prominent leader has a large band of young supporters, many of whom have received military-style training and have supported outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade in the presidential vote in February.
Office and bank employees stood around, looking at rows of 4x4 vehicles with smashed windows in the central Independence Square, which saw heavy protests during the run-up to a presidential vote in February. On the edge of Dakar’s sea side Cornice road, security forces chased protesters down a cliff side, firing rubber bullets as they ran. Across the street, police kicked two young women as they attempted to drag them into a police car.
According to Pierre-Marie Gorgas, a bank executive, Dakar is heating up. Report says things didn’t use to be like this, but presently there have been regular incidents of violence. Earlier this month, a riots has broke out during the African Nations Cup qualifying match between Senegal and Ivory Coast. Senegal fans then threw missiles, stones, bottles and firecrackers on the playing field, as an act of frustration towards their team poor performance. The match was halted and Senegal was ultimately disqualified from the cup.