France-Senegal: Anti-Wade Demonstrators Arrested by French Police

Senegal is preparing for its presidential elections in February 2012. Eight months from the start of the vote, the country's civil society has already protested against various attempts by the incumbent president, 85 year-old Abdoulaye Wade, to hold on to power.

A movement called “Enough is Enough” (Y en a marre) [fr] first appeared on the web and spread to the young population who demonstrated on 19 March, 2011, against unemployment, power cuts and the overall policies of the Wade government.

On 23 June, protests and riots surfaced again in Dakar against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the President to be elected with only 25% of the votes, and would have also created a brand new position of vice-president in the executive branch.

The same day, demonstrations by the Senegalese diaspora occured in France where citizens gathered in front of the Senegalese embassy and consulate. The protest was soon dispersed by the police. In fact, Madmadou, a Twitter user based in Paris, posted the following update from the protest:

French police have embarked [Note: arrested] demonstrators outside the embassy of #Senegal and at the Invalides. Will twitpic soon. #ticketwade

In the following picture posted by the same user, Senegalese citizens are gathered in front of the Embassy, surrounded by French police vehicles:

Demonstration at the Senegales embassy in France, June 23, 2011. @Madmadou on Twitter.

Demonstration at the Senegales embassy in France, June 23, 2011. @Madmadou on Twitter.

Senegalese news website, Walf Fidjri [fr], explains that 200 people were arrested at the embassy, and 31 others at the consulate.

According to one of the demonstrators, who speaks anonymously, people did not understand why the French police took people in for questionning. He adds:

Il parait que même les policiers ont été étonnés de recevoir un tel ordre.

It appears that even police officers were suprised that such an order was given.

A video of the events at the Consulate was posted on Dailymotion, under the profile of the Socialist Party of Senegal. Protesters can be seen at the consulate, and French police officers are seen standing at the the gates, pulling the protesters out:

Occupation du Consulat du Sénégal à Paris contre… by socialisme-republique

The general Consul of Senegal in Paris formally submitted a complaint [fr] for the damage caused by the demonstrators while protesting in the building.

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