Over 350 were injured in Senegal clashes – Red Cross

Supporters of Senegal’s firebrand opposition leader Ousmane Sonko condemned police brutality on Sunday after clashes over his recent court conviction left at least 16 people dead and more than 350 demonstrators injured.

The violence erupted on Thursday when Sonko was sentenced to two years behind bars in a case he says was designed to stop him running for president next year.

The Red Cross said it has helped 357 injured demonstrators, including a pregnant woman, as well as 36 members of the defence and security forces who were hurt since the unrest broke out. It added that 78 seriously wounded people were taken to health centres.

Supporters of Sonko and President Macky Sall have traded blame for the violence and deaths.

On Sunday, Sonko’s PASTEF-Patriots party condemned “the murderous repression by defence and security forces”, accusing the government of deploying “private militias”.

The government has accused Sonko’s supporters of “vandalism and banditry” and restricted access to social media and on Sunday decided to “temporarily” cut mobile data internet on phones, saying “hateful and subversive messages” were being shared.

There were more signs of a return to calm on Sunday, with fewer officers on the streets and quiet in several Dakar neighbourhoods that saw violence earlier in the week.

On Saturday, Interior Minister Antionie Diome says around 500 people had been arrested since Thursday.

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