Police in Senegal's capital yesterday fired tear gas at supporters of an influential Muslim leader, who has been incarcerated since April for alleged complicity in murder.
The disciples of Cheikh Bethio Tioune began their protest outside the municipal prison, where Tioune was transferred last week after being arrested on April 23. They vandalised cars and boutiques, and riot police in armoured vehicles blanketed the area in tear gas.
An Associated Press reporter saw one bus in flames on one of the main commercial boulevards traversing the sea-facing Dakar, as well as two other buses which had been destroyed by Tioune's rock-hurling supporters. The protesters descended on the Sandaga market, where women sell vegetables on wooden tables and men hawk second-hand shoes. They yanked the tables into the middle of the road, using them as firewood, causing gridlock in the heart of the city's commercial district.
"We are demanding the liberation of our guide, who has no business being in prison," said one of the protesters, Saliou Ndiaye. "He is innocent."