Senegalese were urged on Friday to turn out and show their opposition to a last-minute delay of presidential polls, in a test of the balance of power between President Macky Sall and his opponents.
However, on Monday, parliament backed Sall’s sudden decision to postpone the February 25 election by 10 months, sparking a fierce opposition backlash and international concern.
The unprecedented move has called into question the West African country’s reputation for democratic stability in a region beset by military coups.
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Dozens of religious and citizens’ groups and professional organizations, which have teamed up in a newly formed collective, issued an appeal for people to attend Friday prayers dressed in white and the national colors.
Dakar residents have also been urged via social media to demonstrate later on Friday on the large Place de la Nation square near the center of the capital.
The identities of those calling for the rally have not been revealed. However, several candidates for the postponed presidential ballot have announced they plan to join the demonstration.
Teachers also faced a call to walk out of schools on Friday by education unions within the civil society platform Aar Sunu Election (Let’s Protect Our Election).
At Blaise Diagne High School in Dakar, hundreds of pupils left their lessons mid-morning after teachers heeded the call. Additionally, History and geography teacher Assane Sene said it was just the start of the battle.
“If the government is stubborn, we will have to try different approaches,” he said.
In conclusion, the platform has also asked Christians to dress in white for church on Sunday and is planning a demonstration on Tuesday next week.
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