The government coalition accuses opposition leader Ousmane Sonko of wanting to block the normal course of justice

File – File image of demonstrators in support of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in Dakar, Senegal. – Stefan Kleinowitz/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Senegal’s ruling coalition has accused prominent opposition figure Ousmane Sonko of »blocking the normal course of justice,» following incidents on Thursday between security forces and supporters of the politician as he headed to a court hearing in the capital, Dakar.

»Mr. Osumane Sonko and his party have suffered a bitter failure in their attempt to block the normal course of justice,» said Benno Bokk Yaakaar (BBY) spokeswoman Fatoumata Niang Bam, before accusing opponents of »defying the institutions».

Thus, she said that the mayor of Zinguinchor is »entangled in judicial files» and stressed that »he seeks to use all means to escape», as reported by the Senegalese state news agency, APS.

This strategy has failed miserably in the face of the determination of the State to exercise its authority and to protect the integrity of the institutions, the order and the tranquility of the citizens», he underlined, while he applauded the »professionalism» of the security forces.

In this regard, Bam emphasized that Sonko »will not be able to escape from the obligation to answer for his actions» and stressed BBY’s »unreserved» support to »the institutions, particularly the justice system and the security forces».

Sonko denounced on Thursday to have been victim of police brutality after being taken out of a vehicle that was taking him to a court in Dakar to be tried for defamation, an event that led to clashes between his supporters and the security forces.

The incidents led to a new suspension of the trial against Sonko, who is accused of discrediting Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang, although the opponent maintains that it is nothing more than a ploy against his reputation in view of the next presidential elections in February 2024.

The Liberate the People coalition, which includes the Senegalese African Patriots for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) party, called for this week several rallies throughout the country in favor of Sonko, who aspires to run in these elections.