Hundreds of people marched on Sunday in Pikine, a suburb of Dakar, to demand the holding of the presidential election and the release of “political prisoners” by the government. The protesters included political leaders and civil society activists.

“It is 25 February, the day that was supposed to be the presidential election. We urge the President of the Republic to hold this election and to free the political prisoners,” Cheikh Diop, the mayor of Pikine West, told the press.

“We cherish our democracy. We are not asking for dialogue, but for the respect of the electoral process,” he added.

Several speakers called on President Macky Sall to abide by the Constitution of Senegal and the rulings of the Constitutional Council, organize the presidential election, and release all the “political” detainees.

Senegal is facing a political crisis after the president announced on 3 February the cancellation of the decree that he had signed to call voters to the polls on 25 February, effectively suspending the electoral process.

On 15 February, the Constitutional Council declared a proposed law to postpone the presidential election until 15 December “unconstitutional”.

The court also invalidated the decree by which the president had renounced the convening of the electoral body.

The postponement of the presidential election sparked clashes between the police and demonstrators who demanded the respect of the electoral calendar.

Four people were killed in the violence in Dakar, Saint-Louis, and Ziguinchor.

President Sall invited the main political and social forces to a dialogue on Monday and Tuesday, to determine the date of the presidential election and the transition of power when his term ends on 2 April.

However, the platform Synergy of Organizations for the Safeguarding of Peace (SOS/PEACE) announced on Friday its refusal to participate.

The Aar Sunu election platform (protect our election), a group of organizations claiming to be civil society, also rejected the dialogue, which was boycotted by sixteen of the nineteen candidates approved by the Constitutional Council.

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