Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher, François Patuel, was quoted in the statement as saying, “it is unacceptable that people are killed at political rallies and those responsible for these acts must be identified and tried in fair trials.”
On 11 February, in the middle of the election campaign, two people were killed in Tambacounda (south-east) and many others, including journalists, were injured in violent clashes between supporters of incumbent President Macky Sall, who is running for a second term, and El Hadj Issa Sall, one of his four opposition challengers.
The rights watchdog called on the authorities to respect and defend human rights during elections, especially free expression, association and peaceful assembly” while urging candidates and their supporters to refrain from violence in all circumstances.
According to Amnesty International, “the civic space has shrunk in recent months, with increased pressure on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and democracy activists.”
Thus, it called on the authorities not to “arbitrarily restrict access to the Internet and to do what is necessary to ensure that journalists, human rights defenders and democracy activists can continue to do their work.”