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Protestors keep pressure on Senegal’s president to hold elections as soon as possible

DAKAR, Senegal — Protestors took the streets in Senegal’s capital Saturday to keep the pressure on President Mack Sall to hold elections quickly.

Hundreds of people walked and biked through downtown Dakar chanting “Macky dictator,” while others called for the release of imprisoned opposition figures.

Sall issued a decree earlier this month to postpone the presidential election originally scheduled for Feb. 25, citing unresolved disputes over who could run. The National Assembly then voted to reschedule the election for Dec. 15.

However, the country’s Constitutional Council ruled Thursday that those moves were unconstitutional and ordered the government to hold the election, presumably allowing enough time for campaigning. The panel acknowledged that Feb. 25 wouldn’t now be feasible, but said the government should act fast.

Sall said Friday that his government would organize the balloting as soon as possible.

Senegal has been seen as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, but election disputes have plunged the country into a political crisis that has sparked deadly protests and cuts to mobile internet. At least three people have been killed by security forces and dozens injured.

Security forces did not try to break up Saturday’s protest, which remained peaceful.

Sall has been accused of trying to delay leaving office, something he denied during an AP interview last week.

Local and international pressure has mounted since the moves to delay the vote.

In a post Friday on X, formerly Twitter, the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs commended the council’s decision “to put Senegal back on track for a timely presidential election.”

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Associated Press reporter Sylvain Cherkaoui contributed from Dakar

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