Protests spread in Senegal over Covid-19 lockdown restrictions

Senegal’s government on Thursday relaxed a dawn-to-dusk curfew as protests spread in the capital Dakar over lockdown restrictions to fight the spread of Coronavirus.

Since Tuesday there have been series of violent protests in the holy city of Touba and Darkar as protesters burnt tyres, blocked roads, torched an ambulance, and looted office buildings.

Senegal’s economy has been hard hit by the pandemic and the associated restrictions on movements.

Many ordinary people especially young people have been unable to freely go about to do business to make a living.

Protesters say the impact of current curfew enforced by the government has brought untold hardship on them.

Senegal hasn’t really faced much agitations since the beginning of the pandemic but it appears the citizens are losing their patience now.

A resident was quoted by Reuters as saying that “Coronavirus is an infectious disease but (President) Macky Sall must know that here in Senegal, most people are poor. We are poor. Three months at home is too much.”

In response to the agitations, the country’s interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye told reporters on Thursday that the curfew would now be shortened by two hours from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The government has also lifted a ban on inter-regional travels due to the agitations.

Transport minister Oumar Youm also noted that some $5.17 million is to be provided for sectors hard hit by the crisis.

Senegal has already reopened places of worship but delayed the reopening of schools due to surge in covid-19 cases among teachers.

The West African nation has confirmed over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 with 45 deaths.


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