As a judge announced his bail, Ousmane Sonko’s supporters, who have been protesting his arrest from last Wednesday massed in front of the court in response to a call for a three-day mass demonstration.
There was heavy security presence and schools in the nation’s capital Dakar have been ordered shut for one week after days of protests resulted in five deaths and destruction of public and private properties, including some linked with French interests.
The UN, foreign diplomats and regional economic group, ECOWAS have expressed their concerns over the violence in Senegal and appealed for calm and restraint on both sides.
Sonko, who came third in the 2019 presidential poll, has dismissed the charges against him as a ploy by President Macky Sall’s government to stop him from running for presidency in 2024.
It is unclear if his release on bail and under judicial control, will douse the high political tension in the country.