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Demos against Wade, Senegal warns of anti-government plot


Anti-government demonstrators rallied throughout Senegal as the government said it would arrest opposition activists, artists and students for their involvement in what it called plot to topple President Abdoulaye Wade.


Justice Minister Cheikh Tidiane Sy said in a statement he read on state television that the plotters wanted to “stir trouble to bring the people on to the streets, create disorder and violence to topple the regime”.

"The state prosector has decided to nip the plot in the bud ... by proceeding to arrest individuals duly identified as being involved in the plot," the statement said.

Some 3,000 to 4,000 people gathered in the capital Saturday for a rally against Wade, marking the 11th anniversary of his electoral victory on 19 March 2000.

Others gathered in Rufisque, to the east of Dakar, and rallies were planned in other major cities.

Demonstrators derided the government’s allegation of a plot against the president, saying that activists were just taking to the streets to express their displeasure.

"The aim is to intimidate, to ensure that people do not go out" to the demonstrations said Ousmane Tanor Dieng, leader of the Socialist Party and a member of the Benno Siggil Senegal (Together for the Renewal of Senegal) coalition.

"We have a pool of lawyers who are going to dismantle the arguments put forward by the minister,” he added.

The government did not ban any of Saturday’s planned rallies.

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