Senegal opposition leads cortege to police station

Associated Press

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The leaders of Senegal's opposition led a long cortege of cars to the capital's central police commissariat to protest the detention of a human rights activist.

Alioune Tine, the organizer of the anti-government protest Friday which turned violent after the country's top legal body validated President Abdoulaye Wade's bid for a third term, was detained Saturday.

The constitution was revised after the 85-year-old Wade took office in 2000 to limit the number of terms to two. Wade argues the law is not retroactive and so cannot be applied to him since he took office before it took effect.

Late on Sunday, the constitutional council was meeting to consider the appeals submitted by opposition leaders who are calling into question the legality of Wade's candidacy. They are also considering an appeal submitted by music icon Youssou Ndour, whose application was disqualified because he allegedly did not turn in enough legal signatures on his petition to run for president.

The procession of cars descended along the capital's coastal highway, and surrounded the police station, located in a narrow side street in the downtown Plateau district near the presidential palace. On Saturday, the 52-year-old Ndour had tried to enter the building where Tine was being held, and a scuffle ensued when the police refused to let him in.

"We need to go get Alioune Tine," said El Hadj Diouf, an opposition leader who is a member of parliament. "If we don't react, those in power will prevent us from being at the forefront of our revolutionary battle."