Protests against alleged corruption in management of oil and gas reserves

Peaceful Assembly

Protests to demand transparency in the management of natural resources

On 14th June 2019, anti-riot police prevented a protest from taking place in Dakar. The protest, organised by the platform Aar Li Nu Bokk (preserving our common good), aimed at demanding transparency in granting contracts for the exploitation of oil and gas reserves. The protest was banned hours before the protest by the prefect of Dakar citing the grounds of 'real threats to disturb public order', 'incitement to violence through irreverent remarks' and 'risks of infiltration of ill-disposed individuals'. Some protesters were arrested as they attempted to access the place of the planned protest, defying the ban. Among those arrested were Aliou Sané and two other members of social movement Y en a marre. The protest follows revelations by a BBC documentary in early June alleging that president Sall's brother, Aliou Sall was involved in corruption in the selling of the exploitation rights of two offshore gas blocks, in 2014, to the company Petro Tim. Aliou Sall is the president of the public service bank Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC) and the mayor of Guédiawaye, a commune in Dakar. The Senegalese government has denied BBC's allegations. 

The platform Aar Li Nu Bokk, consisting of civil society actors and political opposition groups, was formed after the corruption allegations broke and aims at 'preserving the gas and oil wealth of Senegal'. A new protest was held on 21st June 2019, gathering thousands in Dakar. The protest was authorised by the prefect of Dakar.

Protest against gender-based violence

Hundreds gathered in Dakar on 25th May 2019 in a sit-in, organised by CSOs working to combat gender-based violence, to protest against the multiplication of sexual violence and rape of women in the country. The protesters, consisting mainly of women, used the slogan #Dafadoy ('enough' in Wolof), with some of them wearing t-shirts and faces painted with dripping blood. The protest follows a series of murders of women, the latest being the murder of a young woman, Bineta Camara, after an attempted rape in Tambacounda, a city in eastern Senegal. One protester, Aminata Gueye, said to Le Monde:

"We do not feel supported. We need that our politician men go out to the streets and engage themselves to our side, the State needs to react to the heights of events." (translated from French)

The protesters denounced the fact that in Senegalese law rape is categorised as an offence and not a crime. The protesters deposed a memorandum demanding a strict application of the criminal law with the maximum penalties, and to review the law so that rape is properly criminalised. On 3rd June 2019, president Macky Sall announced that he instructed the Minister of Justice to prepare a law criminalising rape and pedophilia.

Protest against revision of the Constitution

According to news agency Agence France Presse (AFP), four civil society members were detained in front of the National Assembly in the morning of 4th May 2019, when the institution was examining the proposed revisions to Senegal's Constitution. Among those arrested figured Guy Marius Sagna of FRAPP France Dégage. They were reportedly released on 6th May 2019. Several civil society actors had called upon citizens to protest in front of the National Assembly against the constitutional revisions, but security forces blocked all the roads to the National Assembly. Protests have been prohibited in the city center of Dakar since 2011.

On 4th May 2019, the National Assembly approved the draft law to revise about 20 articles of Senegal's Constitution. The changes include the removal of the post of Prime Minister, disallowing the president to dissolve the National Assembly, among other changes. According to members of the government, the changes are purely 'technical and administrative' but is disputed by members of opposition who fear that the changes are reinforcing the powers of the President and lament that there was no broad consultation on the constitutional changes.

Strike bakers

On 17th April 2019, the National Federation of Bakers in Senegal (Fédération nationale des boulangers du Sénégal ; FNBS) initiated a three-day strike in protest against the low selling price of baguettes, which according to FNBS does not allow them to earn a decent profit. The price for baguettes is set by the state. The strike was according to the FNBS followed by '80%' in Dakar and in the 14 regions of the country. 


On 4th March 2019, a court in Dakar sentenced rapper and activist Abdou Karim Gueye, also known as Karim Xrum Xax, of the movement 'Nittu Deugu’, and supporter of opposition presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko, to a one month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 50,000 francs CFA (87 USD) for having recorded and posted a video on social media calling citizens to a protest, which was not authorised. Karim Gueye was arrested on 25th February 2019 and charged with 'call for a non-authorised protest without weapons and insults through the press' according to Amnesty International. 


According to media reports, a group of journalists were insulted and two of them assaulted by street vendors on 24th May 2019. The team of reporters of private television channel 2stv were at Cheikh Anta Diop Avenue in Dakar to report on an eviction operation in front of the entrance of the University Cheikh Anta Diop. Cameramen Baïdy Mboup was injured, and his equipment was damaged as he was hit by stones. The direction of 2stv submitted a complaint at the police. The assault was condemned by the Union of Information and Communication Professionals of Senegal (Syndicat des professionnels de l'information et de la communication du Sénégal; SYNPICS).