Demand justice for the violent repression of #FreeSenegal protests

From 3 March to 8 March 2021, protests in Senegal were met with the use of lethal force by the security forces. Take action now to demand justice for the 11 people who died and the end of arbitrary arrests in Senegal.

On 3 March, Ousmane Sonko, a leading opposition figure, was arbitrarily arrested for “disrupting public order” and “participating in an unauthorized gathering”. He was on this way to court to respond to a summons by a judge related to a separate criminal case. His arrest led to spontaneous protests in Dakar and many other cities. Some of them were violent and the security forces responded at times by firing live bullets at the demonstrators.

On 8 March, Ousmane Sonko was released and placed under legal supervision after an audition for an accusation of rape and death threats. The other charges of disrupting public order and participating in an unauthorized gathering were lifted the previous day.

However, between 3 and 8 March, at least 11 young men were killed and around 590 people wounded.

In Bignona, three people, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed during the protests when security forces fired at the crowd. In Dakar, where seven people died amidst the protests, the latest victim of the use of firearms by the police was Cheikh Wade, a 32-year-old tailor. He was shot in the head by the police. His death was recorded by a bystander and shared online. The video depicts, a police officer standing several meters away from him, alone, casually aiming at his head and shooting.  A few minutes later, the police car can be seen approaching Cheikh’s body, pausing for several seconds as Cheikh laid bleeding on the ground, and leaving him to die without anyone attempting to assist him.

In many of the protests, armed men wearing plain clothes were seen beating protestors with sticks and clubs, often in the full view of the police. In other videos, they could be seen firing at protesters with pump-action shotguns and military-grade rifles.

Other videos and testimonies show police officers entering private homes, chasing protesters, and at times firing shots

Around a hundred people were arrested since the beginning of the protests. Before the protests, several opposition and civil society members were also arbitrarily arrested by the authorities. One of them is renowned activist Guy Marius Sagna, who has been arrested four times in the last 2 years.

The #FreeSenegal protests became a rallying cry to denounce the breaking down of the country's institutions, police brutality, corruption, and degrading economic conditions aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take action now and demand justice.

Send an email to President Macky Sall and Ministry of Justice Malick Sall to demand independent and credible investigation into the deaths of Baye Cheikh Diop, Cheikh Coly, Famara Goudiaby, Cheikhouna Ndiaye, Sadio Camara, Moussa Dramé, Alassane Barry, Mansour Thiam, Bounama Sylla Sagna and Cheikh Wade.

Join our members and supporters to pressure authorities for accountability and end arbitrary arrests in Senegal.