Is the right to demonstrate threatened in Senegal? To this question, the NGO Amnesty International answers in the affirmative. On a visit to the country, its secretary general, Agnès Callamard, sounded the alarm on October 28, after meeting with the Prime Minister, Amadou Ba, with the Minister of the Justice, Ismaïla Madior Fall, and with the Minister of the Interior, Antoine Félix Diome. She believes that Senegal is moving towards “a regime of authorization of demonstrations”, even though political gatherings are “primordial in an electoral context”, the next presidential election due to take place in February 2024.
Senegal: Ismaïla Madior Fall, the constitutional fashion designer of Macky Sall
One of the main measures of the legal arsenal targeted by Amnesty is the maintenance of the Ousmane Ngom decree. Adopted on July 20, 2011, this text, which bears the name of Abdoulaye Wade’s former interior minister, prohibits “political demonstrations” for reasons of “security nationale in downtown Dakar, in the area between Avenue El Hadj Malick Sy and Cap Manuel.
This decision was taken as the Senegalese demonstrated against the revision of the Constitution which paved the way for a new candidacy of President Abdoulaye Wade. But it was not repealed after Macky Sall came to power in 2012. On March 13, the ECOWAS Court of Justice ruled that the scope of the decree was “unduly broad and vague” and that it violated the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.