Senegalese protest against power shortages

5 September

Over a thousand Senegalese demonstrators took to the streets of Zinguinchor on Saturday to protest against recurrent power cuts. The government had promised to resume power supplies on August 15, following weeks of power failures throughout the country.

Ziguinchor is the main city in Casamance province, 464  km South of the capital Dakar.  Organisers say there were 1,500 demonstrators, while police estimated their number at 1,000. People from all ages marched through the city, holding candles or lamps to express their discontent at the shortages.

On one of the posters targeting the state-owned electricity company Senelec,  one could read: “We pay our bills, give us 24/24 hours electricity”.

Local governor Cheikh Tidiane Dieng, who spoke with demonstrators, said their march, which had been authorised, had  \been held with ” respect  and public-spiritedness “, unlike the spontaneous demonstrations that erupted in recent  days. Local media say demonstrators had  ” besieged ” Senelec offices in Zinguinchor, burning tires and blocking roads.

Ramadan

The power cuts continue as Senegal, a mainly muslim country, prepares for religious festivities next week. Taylors in Zuiguinchor complain that they cannot fill special orders for the celebrations.

The government had promised to resume power supplies on August 15, following weeks of power failures throughout the country.

On August 14, thousands marched in Dakar to protest against electricity shortages, floods and rising  food costs.

The annual power cuts come at the same time as flash downpours brought on by the rainy season, causing flooding in the suburbs and raising ire among communities.

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