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Police Push Back Protesters in Senegal

February 15, 2012

VOA News

Police in Senegal used tear gas Wednesday to push back protesters demanding President Abdoulaye Wade not run for a third term.

Hundreds of demonstrators tried to march toward the presidential palace in Dakar, after opposition groups called for more protests against the president's candidacy. But police blocked their path and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Earlier, the opposition M-23 Movement vowed to march to Dakar's Independence Square, despite threats of a government ban. Senegal's interior ministry had said the march was not authorized, and warned that action could be taken to "ensure the safety of people and property."

The 85-year-old Mr. Wade is running for a third term, despite a two-term limit in the constitution. Last month, a court agreed said the limit did not apply to him because it came into effect after he was first elected in 2000.

Thirteen candidates are competing against Mr. Wade in the February 26 vote, including his former allies, Macky Sall and Idrissa Seck. A run-off will be held if no one wins more than half the total vote.

Dakar has seen frequent protests since the campaign began. On Tuesday, police prevented a group of youths from holding a permanent sit-in at a central square in Dakar.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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