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DAKAR: Several hundred people rallied in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Saturday to demand that the country's presidential elections be held before April 2, the date when incumbant Macky Sall's term ends.

The West African country was thrown into a political crisis on February 3 when Sall postponed the presidential election planned for February 25.

The postponement, denounced as a “constitutional coup d’etat” by the opposition, sparked huge protests that resulted in four deaths.

The constitutional council finally overruled Sall, and ever since the country has been waiting for a new date.

The “Resistance Front,“ an alliance of opposition parties and civil society groups, had called for Saturday’s protests.

On a sandy lot in a working-class neighbourhood, hundreds of people gathered, brandishing Senegalese flags and portraits of the imprisoned opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who has been jailed since July for “incitement to insurrection” and barred from running in the presidential vote.

Sonko has endorsed Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who is also in jail but who is approved to be on the ballot.

The crowd shouted “Macky Sall dictator” and “Free Sonko”.

“What we are asking President Macky Sall is to organise these elections before April 2 and to give the keys to the palace to his successor face to face, so that we can begin to rebuild our country,“ said Aminata Toure, a former Prime Minister and member of the “Bassirou President” coalition.

A national dialogue, organised at the start of the week by the president but boycotted by the opposition, had recommended holding the elections on June 2. Sall indicated that he would ask the constitutional council for its opinion on the request. -AFP