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Senegal News: Wade urged to rein in police force

After 3 killed in anti-government protests, Amnesty International urges restraint.
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Senegalese rapper Didié Awadi (d) attends a demonstration of Senegalese opposed to the candidature of Abdoulaye Wade for highly disputed third term in office on January 27, 2012 in Dakar. (SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade was urged Wednesday by Amnesty International to rein in security forces after a third person was killed and dozens injured by police during three days of demonstrations across the country.

Senegal has been roiled by anti-government protests all week and Wade's police are responding with considerable force.

Police fired on demonstrators in Dakar, the capital, and threw a tear gas canister at an ambulance, according to eyewitnesses who spoke to Amnesty.

At least one man was killed Tuesday when a police car drove into a group of anti-Wade protesters in the Place de l’Obélisque in Dakar.

“President Wade must send a clear order to his security forces not to resort to lethal force unless their lives are in danger,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s researcher on West Africa.

A young student protester, Mamadou Diop, was run over by a police vehicle and killed Tuesday night, according to witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International.

More from GlobalPost: Senegal frees activist Alioune Tine, braces for fresh protests

“We were talking peacefully when a police car suddenly charged into the crowd," said a witness to Amnesty International. "The car hit the student five meters from me. The police officers then turned back to shoot at us. People started to run away, the car drove up onto the pavement and then I saw that police officers in uniform were shooting in all directions.”

An ambulance that came to collect Diop’s body was hit by a tear gas canister that broke its rear window, a medic told Amnesty.

Protests have rocked Senegal since its Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that current President Wade would be allowed to stand for a third term. Presidential elections are due to be held on Feb. 26.

Last Friday, one policeman was killed during clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

“Police may be faced with hostile demonstrators but the security forces must do everything in their power to preserve life — not threaten it,” said Amnesty's Saguès. “We also call on those opposed to President Wade to prevent acts of violence that could lead to further casualties.

More from GlobalPost: Deadly protests continue against Abdoulaye Wade

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/senegal-news-wade-urged-rein-police-force

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