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Dakar Moves to Quell the Diaspora

Senegal’s foreign ministry has temporarily closed its overseas consulates amid raging political tensions that have fueled attacks on its diplomatic missions in Paris, Bordeaux, Milan and New York. Deadly protests broke out last week in the Senegalese capital Dakar and other cities, following the sentencing of popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Several days of rioting left at least 16 people dead and hundreds injured as Sonko’s supporters clashed with security forces. The fallout from crisis has reverberated abroad with the Senegalese diaspora leading demonstrations at the country’s consulates overseas. Its foreign ministry says it is taking a “precautionary measure” to shut its diplomatic missions in France, Italy and the United States for the time being, following a “series of attacks.” Sonko leads the African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) and enjoys widespread support among young people in the country. When he was first held on the rape charge in 2021, angry youth clashed with police leaving at least eight people dead, Amnesty International reported at the time.