DAKAR, Senegal

Senegal’s President Macky Sall has declared Thursday a national day of mourning for those who lost their lives in protests triggered by the detention of an opposition leader, according to a statement issued following a meeting of the Council of Ministers. 

Since the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on March 3 until his release under judicial supervision on March 8, the West African country has been hit by a series of demonstrations that have resulted in at least five deaths and hundreds of arrests, according to official figures.

Sonko, who finished third in the 2019 presidential election, is accused of rape and death threats by a young woman. His supporters have taken to the streets to protest his arrest.

Police violence against protesters as well as imprisonments have since been decried by human rights defenders.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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