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News from Senegal: Senegal U-turn after hawkers riot

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  • Zafar Khan
    Senegal U-turn after hawkers riot 23 November 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7109452.stm The Senegalese authorities have reversed their policy of
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15 4:09 AM
      Senegal U-turn after hawkers riot
      23 November 2007


      The Senegalese authorities have reversed their policy
      of banning street vendors from the capital, Dakar,
      after two days of riots.
      They have been allowed to return to the streets until
      the end of the year "as long as they do not obstruct

      President Abdoulaye Wade had said there would be no
      about-turn on this policy, which he announced earlier
      this month.

      About 200 people were arrested in some of the biggest
      riots seen in Dakar for several years.

      Hawkers will be allowed to stay on the streets until
      after the holiday season, which includes the Muslim
      festival of Eid-el-Adha - due this year on 20 December
      - as well as Christmas and New Year.

      Thousands of people earn a living peddling goods on
      Dakar's streets.

      Earlier, the mayor had said that hawkers would be
      allowed to stay in some areas of the city.

      But a spokesman for the street vendors, Mbaye Mbengue,
      told Senegal's Sud FM radio that salesmen who are
      accustomed to meeting passers-by may refuse to be
      confined to a single spot.

      Concessions fail to end riots over ban on Dakar's
      street hawkers
      Agencies in Dakar
      Friday November 23, 2007
      The Guardian


      Senegal's worst riots for almost two decades persisted
      into a second day yesterday, despite government
      efforts to defuse a crisis triggered by a decision to
      ban hawkers from the streets of the capital, Dakar.
      Market stalls remained shuttered while police fired
      tear gas at stone-throwing protesters, witnesses said.
      The unrest was nonetheless less destructive than the
      violence which convulsed the city the previous day
      after President Abdoulaye Wade's government ordered
      police to evict thousands of street vendors whose
      stalls line the city centre's pot-holed streets.

      Article continues


      "Enough's enough," said the red-banner headline of Le
      Populaire newspaper. "Dakar joins the evicted street
      vendors to show their discontent with the government."
      The disenchantment began to spread last week when the
      security forces began clearing the capital's
      intersections of beggars and hawkers under a
      presidential decree aimed at bringing some order to
      the city's clogged streets.

      On Wednesday groups of men protesting at the ban faced
      off against riot police, throwing stones at the
      officers. The police replied with tear gas and
      arrested dozens. Police were also seen beating some
      men with batons as they quelled the protest and shut
      down a union march that the government had prohibited
      because of the unrest. Two buildings burned, along
      with cars caught in the melee.

      The unrest was extremely rare for a west African city
      often held up as an example of peace and stability in
      the region. It was aggravated by wider discontent over
      unemployment, rising prices of rice and bread, and a
      perception that the government is building luxury
      hotels and roads while ignoring the poor.

      The government has indicated that it will soften the
      presidential decree. The prime minister, Hadjibou
      Soumare, who met representatives of the traders late
      on Wednesday, agreed to keep certain central streets
      open to vendors at the weekend, and to set aside a
      special area for them during the rest of the week,
      said Maimouna Sourang Ndir, the minister of life
      quality and leisure.

      Local aid groups estimate that there are between
      50,000 and 100,000 unlicensed vendors and beggars in
      the capital. Young men sell everything from ironing
      boards to electronics in the streets.

      Dakar's legions of jobless young are also losing
      patience. "Wade pledged to help the youth if he got a
      second mandate," one of them, Ibrahim Mbemgue, 28,
      told Reuters. "He betrayed the people."

      Reggae singer barred from Senegal after criticising
      22 hours ago


      DAKAR (AFP) — Senegal has barred reggae star Tiken Jah
      Fakoly from entering the country after he criticised
      President Abdoulaye Wade, in a decision that
      Senegalese newspapers denounced Friday as excessive.

      The Ivorian reggae singer criticised Wade during a
      press conference and afterward at a concert on
      Wednesday, inviting the president to leave office for
      the good of his country.

      Senegal's interior ministry said Thursday evening that
      he was "persona non grata in Senegal" for his
      "insolent and discourteous" remarks and would be
      barred from entering the country.

      Fakoly had been in Senegal for the international
      Hip-Hop Awards in Dakar.

      Private Senegalese newspaper Sud Quotidien said the
      singer was a "victim of state xenophobia".

      The Senegalese government faced what was seen as the
      country's most violent protests since the late 1980s
      last month.

      Local media said the unrest was an expression of
      disillusionment by the majority of Senegalese hard
      pressed for the most basic needs, while the country
      invests in new highways and five-star hotels ahead of
      a major summit of Islamic nations it is set to host in
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