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Senegalese capital ablaze over repeated power cuts

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-28

Dakar residents took to the streets late on Monday, burning tyres and ransacking the offices of the state electricity company after facing months of sporadic power cuts in the capital.

AFP - Angry residents of the Senegalese capital late Monday torched several government buildings including offices of the state electricity firm to protest against long power cuts, an AFP journalist saw.

Four offices of Senelec were ablaze and four company vehicles torched. Broken bottles and scattered debris littered the streets of the seaside city along with tyres burnt by the protesters.
             
A tax office was ransacked and burnt in a Dakar suburb.
             
A policeman said the protesters "took everything with them, including the safe" and added: "The whole of Dakar is burning."
             
The public anger against mounting power cuts first erupted in the coastal town of Mbour, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Dakar, where police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
             
"Everything is broken in the Senelec" offices -- computers and cars -- a witness from Mbour told AFP adding that tensions prevailed across the town.
             
Power cuts have steadily worsened in Senegal over the past months and can last up to two days in some areas, hitting economic activity.
              
The latest protests come after President Abdoulaye Wade dropped controversial efforts to run for a third term in February 2012 elections as nationwide protests turned to riots in the capital Dakar that left more than 100 people injured -- the largest demonstrations since he took power in 2000.
             
The shelved election law changes would have added a vice president to the presidential ticket for next year's polls, and dropped the winning threshold for a first-round victory to 25 percent of votes from the current 50 percent.
             
Wade's critics saw the measures as a scheme by the president to avoid a second round of voting and line up his 42-year-old son Karim Wade, already a government minister, for succession.

 

Date created : 2011-06-28

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