Senegal cops clash with rioters

2012-02-19 21:33

DAakar - Senegal security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of rock-throwing protesters in the capital on Sunday in the fifth straight day of demonstrations against President Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy in a February 26 election.

Youths set fire to tyres, smashed car windows and barricaded roads less than a kilometre from the presidential mansion. Several protesters were injured as police defending the mansion fired back with teargas, rubber bullets and rocks, a Reuters witness said.

The clashes come amid mounting pressure on Wade from opposition rivals and international partners to withdraw his bid for a third term in office.

Opposition leaders and civil society group M-23 have vowed to make the country ungovernable if Wade does not step down, arguing the octogenarian's candidacy violates constitutional term limits.

The United States and France have both said they would like to see power in the West African state pass to a younger generation.

At least five people have been killed in street clashes since last month when Wade's candidacy was validated by the country's top legal body.

Wade argued his first term should not be counted toward the two-term limit because it started in 2000, a year before the limit was introduced.

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