While the opponent Ousmane Sonko was on his way to the examining magistrate’s summons, the deputy was arrested and taken to the research section for « disturbing public order », his lawyers said.
Ousmane Sonko was expected at the courthouse in Dakar on Wednesday morning, where he was summoned by the investigating judge in a rape case. Ousmane Sonko had initially said he would not go to the summons, before changing his mind, on the advice of his lawyers, his religious guide and civil society leaders. But accepting this convocation « is not an abdication, » he added Tuesday, calling on his supporters to remain mobilized.
The convoy of the opponent left his home around 9am, a journey filmed live on his Facebook page, accompanied by supporters, who had gathered en masse, despite a major security measure.
But there was a dispute with the prefecture over the route to the court. Ousmane Sonko then protested, declaring that he was « free of his movements ». The convoy was blocked for several hours.
Tension is up. Activists were dispersed with tear gas and the opponent was arrested for « disturbing public order and participating in an unauthorised demonstration », according to his lawyers, and taken to the Research Section where he was taken into custody.
This led to clashes between the law-enforcement agencies and demonstrators chanting « Free Sonko », particularly in the Colobane district, throughout the afternoon, when tear-gas was fired at stone throwers. The shops had lowered the curtain on the Centenary alleys, littered with stones, bricks and burnt tyres.
No overall assessment is available this Wednesday evening on the number of injured, material damage or arrests. This new turn of events has in any case increased the tension in this affair which has been agitating the country for more than 3 weeks.
Mr. Youssoupha Camara, one of the lawyers of the defence collective of Ousmane Sonko
In addition, about twenty opposition deputies have filed an appeal before the Constitutional Council to challenge the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of Ousmane Sonko voted last Friday.