Senegal frees activist Alioune Tine, braces for fresh protests

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In Senegal, police have released the opposition figure and activist Alioune Tine without charge, as the nation readied for fresh protests despite tight security in the capital, Dakar, Agence France Presse reported.

Tine, a coordinator of the opposition June 23rd movement (M23), was arrested during riots on Friday in Dakar.

He told Radio France Internationale that he was “tired but relaxed” after his detention.

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M23 says it will organize another protest this afternoon against a court ruling allowing the incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade to run for a controversial third term.

The BBC reported that a large number of Senegalese police are on guard in central Dakar to prevent the banned rally from taking place.

M23 says it will march on the presidential palace. But police are blocking demonstrators from reaching the Place de l'Obelisque, in the city center, where M23 leaders have instructed their supporters to gather Monday afternoon, the BBC said.

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There have also been fresh calls to allow the well-known Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour to contest the February 26 polls, after the Constitutional Court rejected his candidacy.

Meanwhile, there was violence in the north of Senegal on Monday. Two people were killed in the town of Podor when M23 activists clashed with police, the BBC reported.

The rights group Amnesty International urged Senegal not to clamp down on protesters. Salvatore Sagues, its West Africa researcher, told AFP:

"Today's bloodshed marks a dramatic escalation in the violence that has plagued Senegal in the run-up to its elections.”

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