Unity ’08: Democracy in Senegal?

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade spoke today at the Unity Convention on the effects of climate change in Africa. However, his speech was disrupted by protesters who believed that he was suppressing press freedom in his own country.

One protester seated in the audience got up and shouted at Wade. Wade’s security attacked the man and forced him out of the room. After the scuffle, all Wade could say was:

“I am accustomed to this in France and Senegal.”

Following his speech, CNN contributer Roland Martin asked him about the complaints of human rights abuses against journalists in his country. Wade said that the people complaining about his rule are not “real journalists” including the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of Wade’s most vocal opponents.

He went on to say that “I am a protector of journalists.”

(Unless you criticize him, of course)

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of Wade’s security people hitting the protester, but I am sure someone else will have it. The above photo is of his “supporters,” who were not asked to leave the room, although they made more of a ruckus than the protesters. But I think that says all you need to know about democracy in Senegal…

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  1. Your story is very well written. You forget to mention that the women in the photo were President Wade’s supporters. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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