Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Low turnout in Algerian election tipped to return Bouteflika

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

Africa

Protests cloud opening of Wade's 'African Renaissance' statue

©

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-03

Protesters called for the resignation of Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade on Saturday as the country prepared to inaugurate a multi-million-dollar monument to “African Renaissance” on the 50th anniversary of its independence.

AFP - Thousands of opposition protesters marched in Dakar on Saturday to demand President Abdoulaye Wade's resignation as Senegal prepared to inaugurate a contested multi-million-dollar independence statute. 

The Soviet-style bronze colossus, higher than the US Statue of Liberty, was intended by Wade to mark 50 years since Senegal's independence but has been attacked as a wasteful extravagance in hard economic times. 

The Dakar protest kicked off three kilometres (two miles) from the controversial African Renaissance Monument, on a hill overlooking Dakar, which was to be inaugurated later in presence of several African heads of state. 

Riot police patrolled the streets clad in helmets and shields as demonstrators held up banners calling for Wade to resign over the statue, whose cost is estimated at more than 15 million euros (20 million dollars). 

"The people demand ethical governance and reject the gangster management of the Wade clan," read one placard. 

Marchers included the head of the former ruling Socialist Party Ousmane Tanor Dieng, former prime minister Moustapha Niasse and ex-president Macky Sall. 

Deputy opposition leader Ndeye Fatou Toure said the statue was an "economic monster and a financial scandal in the context of the current crisis," in a country where half the population lives below the poverty line. 

The Dakar protest went ahead after a ban imposed on Friday was lifted. 

"The government retreated," Ibrahima Sene, a leader of the opposition coalition Benno Siggil told AFP. "They know that by banning the march it will only help us in our cause, because people are even more determined to march." 

Senegal's opposition called on Friday for a boycott of the inauguration. 

THE OBSERVERS
Dakar statue rises amid the poverty

It called on visiting Senegalese and foreign dignitaries not to "be associated with a fraudulent operation designed to satisfy Abdoulaye Wade's fantasies about our country." 

Built by North Koreans, the monument looks more Soviet in style than Senegalese and has provoked anger over its cost, as well as bewilderment over its style. 

The 50-metre ( 164-foot) monument depicts a muscular man emerging from a volcano with a scantily clad woman in tow and holding a baby aloft in his left arm -- pointing towards the West. 

Its depiction of a woman with a whisp of fabric covering her breasts and skirting her thighs has been attacked as sexist, but has also baffled many in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, where women dress demurely. 

Muslim leaders have added to the chorus of criticism, saying the monument is not in keeping with Islamic values and amounts to a symbol of idolatry. 

Opposition supporters object not just to the monument but to plans by Wade to profit from the income it generates. 

Wade provoked anger after he said he should be entitled to a third of the tourism revenues expected to be generated from the site since, he argues, he came up with the concept. 

The president has previously described the statue in stirring terms. 

"This African who emerges from the volcano, facing the West ... symbolises that Africa which freed itself from several centuries of imprisonment in the abyssal depths of ignorance, intolerance and racism, to retrieve its place on this land, which belongs to all races, in light, air and freedom," he has written. 

He hopes the monument will lure tourists, becoming an African version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty. 

Senegal's independence day is on Sunday and military parades have been planned with some 30 heads of state invited to attend.

Date created : 2010-04-03

  • THE OBSERVERS

    Dakar's multi-million-dollar statue rises amid the poverty

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)