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Senegalese government bans opposition rally

Senegal's President Macky Sall attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, 30 January 2016
Senegal's President Macky Sall attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, 30 January 2016

REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 1 March 2016.

In response to Senegal prohibiting a February 27 protest by opponents of shortening presidential terms to five years from seven, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"The government's move to limit freedom of assembly is a worrisome development in one of Africa's most democratic countries," said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa Programs. "The Sall administration should continue to set an example for other leaders in the region by respecting peoples' fundamental right to peacefully assemble and freely speak regardless of their political views."

Background

President Macky Sall proposed in March 2015 to reduce presidential terms to five years, a welcomed move that contrasts with other sub-Saharan states' disregard of term limits. After the Constitutional Court rejected the proposal in February 2016, Sall said he would complete his current term, ending in 2019. The country is scheduled to vote on a similar proposal on March 20 along with 14 other constitutional changes.

Sengal is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2016, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2015.

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