News from Senegal: Senegal U-turn after hawkers riot
- 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
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
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
Agencies in Dakar
Friday November 23, 2007
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.
"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
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