Senegal’s interior minister announced on Monday the dissolution of the party led by opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. The decision was made due to the party’s role in rallying supporters and inciting unrest during violent protests last month, where demonstrators clashed with the police in the capital.
The dissolution of Sonko’s Pastef party is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between President Macky Sall’s ruling party and Pastef. Supporters of Sonko claim that Sall has employed false charges to sideline his popular opponent ahead of the upcoming February election.
Pastef officials were not immediately reachable for comment.
As Sonko was remanded in custody by a judge on charges that include plotting an insurrection, demonstrators once again took to the streets of Dakar on Monday.
Sonko, who maintains his innocence, was detained last week after a scuffle with security forces outside his home in Dakar. As of now, it is uncertain if Sonko will be held in custody indefinitely or when his trial will commence.
“He will spend his first night in prison,” confirmed his lawyer, Bamba Cisse, to media.
In June, violent riots broke out across Senegal, resulting in at least 16 fatalities, after Sonko received a separate two-year prison sentence for immoral behavior towards individuals under the age of 21. During that period, he called for protesters to take to the streets.
Protesters obstructed the highway into Dakar on Monday by setting ablaze tyres and trucks, causing traffic disruptions even before the judge’s ruling and the interior minister’s statement.