Former Senegal PM, opposition protesters under arrest

Opposition party protests against proposed bill seeking make major changes in electoral code of conduct
Dakar, Senegal: Senegalese police dispersed hundreds of protesters with tear gas and batons on Thursday afternoon in the capital Dakar and arrested dozens including former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck.
The opposition members were protesting against the vote on a proposed change in the electoral code of conduct.
The law if passed will require 67,000 signatures from the country’s seven regions for a candidate in order to qualify to run for president.
In a statement, the opposition Grand Party said another key figure, Malick Gakou, was also arrested with three of his activists and several others.
Over 100 demonstrators who had erected a barricade in the middle of Dakar plateau near the Parliament, were dispersed by shots of tear gas and batons as they threw stones at the police.
Local private radio RFM reported that one protester was injured and has been taken to the hospital.
Opposition member in the national assembly Moustapha Guirassy called for the withdrawal of the bill, saying it is “inconceivable to amend a key bill ten months before the presidential election of 2019 without thorough public consultations”.
Madicke Niang, the president of the parliamentary group Freedom and democracy, has called for the debate to be adjourned in the wake of the recent incidents.
Head of Amnesty International in Senegal Seydi Gassama condemns the attack on protesters and urged the victims to use their mobile phones to gather evidence of police brutality for future references.
A platform has been launched by 27 parties, movements, associations and democratic organizations, who say they are determined to block what they call “constitutional and electoral manipulations”.–AA

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