A riot police officer holds a shield while others try to put out a fire in the middle of the street during protests in Dakar
A riot police officer holds a shield while others try to put out a fire in the middle of the street during protests in Dakar

After two nights of protest, Senegal eases travel restrictions and curfew

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Jun 5, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - In response to two nights of protests by its citizens, the Senegalese government has announced that it will ease curfew times and allow travel between the country's regions. 

According to Al Jazeera, citizens protested in the capital city of Dakar on Wednesday, setting tyres alight and hurling rocks at security forces. A similar scene had broken out in the city of Touba on Tuesday. 

Protesters were dispersed by law enforcement officials using tear gas. 

The curfew and restriction on inter-regional travel were imposed in March in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye addressed the media on Thursday on the way forward. 

He said the curfew from 9pm until 9am would now be shortened, from 11pm until 5am, and confirmed that travel restrictions between the country’s regions would be lifted.

He added that gatherings in public or private places, restaurants, gyms and casinos would also benefit from these new regulations. 

According to the World Bank, the Covid-19 lockdown has had a significant effect on Senegal’s economy and citizens dependent on day-by-day jobs have been hit the hardest. Forty percent of the population lives below the poverty line, Al Jazeera reported.

President Macky Sall announced the first relaxation of the lockdown on May 11, allowing markets and places of worship to reopen.

During a cabinet meeting, Sall said that further steps towards the gradual easing of restrictions would follow.

High schools had been set to reopen on Tuesday, but this step was postponed after 10 teachers in Casamance, in the southern region, tested positive for Covid-19. 

According to the real-time data portal Worldometer, the francophone country has recorded 4,021 cases of Covid-19, with 45 deaths and 2,162 recoveries. 

African News Agency 

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