Separate rallies in support of former Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, the potential presidential candidate for the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), are expected to be held in Dakar on Thursday, August 30. The Dakar Court of Appeals will likely issue a ruling on Sall’s five-year prison sentence for fraud. Sall’s supporters have gathered around the Dakar courthouse during previous hearings and may hold a similar rally on Thursday.
The Senegalese Supreme Court will also issue a ruling on Thursday whether Wade will be allowed to run in the 2019 presidential election. PDS leaders have called for supporters to rally outside the Supreme Court during the hearing. The party has also threatened to boycott the election if the Wade is prevented from being able to run. A heightened security presence is expected throughout the city and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around protest sites.
Sall, the leader of the opposition coalition Manko Taxawu Senegal (MTS), has been in prison since March 2017 on embezzlement charges. He was nevertheless elected to parliament in July 2017, without being able to take his seat. In November 2017, the National Assembly lifted Sall's parliamentary immunity, allowing his trial to proceed and prompting his supporters to stage a series of protests throughout Dakar.
Wade is the son of Abdoulaye Wade, the founder of the PDS and president from 2000 to 2012. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 on corruption charges. In 2016 Wade was pardoned by President Macky Sall and released from jail. Both opposition leaders have denied the charges against them and claim the prison sentences are politically motivated.
Individuals in Dakar and across the country are advised to remain vigilant, monitor the situation via local media, and avoid any form of public demonstration or public gathering due to the risk of violence.
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