In Senegal, where the demonstrations that followed the arrest of Ousmane Sonko turned into riots, several French shops were targeted. These looting incidents are symptomatic of the « anti-economic neo-colonialism » discontent that has long been expressed by the country’s youth.
On 3 March, when tempers began to flare and anger erupted following the arrest of the opponent Ousmane Sonko, the anger was undoubtedly political, with the demonstrators denouncing « bad governance » and « the liquidation of political opponents through the justice system ». But the situation then evolved rapidly as Dakar and other major cities in the country became inflamed.
The reasons for the anger
If the arrest of Macky Sall’s number one opponent was the detonator, the reasons for the anger go far beyond the legal problems of the leader of the Pastef party. In the maelstrom of violence that broke out, leaving at least five protesters dead according to the official report (and eight according to Amnesty International), some images have particularly attracted attention: scenes of looting and burning of Auchan shops or Total gas stations suggest that the discontent is tinged with anti-French sentiment. In total, 21 large and medium-sized stores were ransacked and looted and at least two were set on fire. Twelve Total stations were also targeted, according to the Senegalese Ministry of Commerce.