An uprising has spread across Senegal for a third day, as militants burned cop cars and clashed with police after the arrest of Ousmane Sonko on Wednesday. Court buildings, houses of government officials, and French-owned companies have also been attacked in the uprising.
Ousmane Sonko appeared in court on Friday, accused of disrupting public order. He also faces a rape allegation.
He denies the allegations and his supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.
Although the uprising was sparked by Sonko’s arrest, the underlying issues of neocolonialism and capitalism are at the root of the revolt by militant youth. Senegal was colonized by France until officially gaining independence in 1960. France, which is the largest foreign investor in Senegal with over €1.7 billion Euros worth of investments within the country, remains a neo-colonial exploiter of the Senegalese people.
On Friday, militants set up makeshift barricades in the capital Dakar where the ground was covered in burnt debris and people chanted “Free Sonko.”
Anti-colonial militants have targeted French-owned businesses such as supermarkets and petrol stations because under President Macky Sall, France has extended its economic interests in its former colony.
During demonstrations in Mbour, between 15 and 20 prisoners escaped from prison.
Militants set fire to a court in Diourbel, and in Khombol, the family home of Minister of the Interior Antoine Abdoulaye Dione was burned.
In Sedhiou, the governor’s vehicle was burned, as well as all the cars of the regional inspection of water and forests. Utilities and symbols of the state were looted. Tires, burned tree trunks as well as tricycles were stationed at the town hall. Columns of smoked billowed everywhere in the city center of Sedhiou.
In Saint-Louis, the headquarters of APR (Alliance for the Republic), the ruling political party, was burned and vandalized and the furniture carried away.
Subsequently, the young militants dumped their fury on the Avenue de Gaulle, burning everything in their way. The clashes with the police on this axis caused the fire of a vehicle of the police and one of the French-owned Total gas stations that is on this avenue.