This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
Senegal, on the coast of West Africa, has been something of a model of stability for a region known for its volatility. But this past week has brought protests and violence to Senegal after demonstrations over a presidential election this coming weekend led to clashes with riot police. We've got NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the line from the capital Dakar to tell us what is going on there.
Senegal's capital of Dakar remains jittery, with the youth and the riot police locked in running street battles.
The police are using teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon spray to chase away angry opposition demonstrators, including rappers from the Y'en a Marre movement. Their name means "We're Fed Up, Enough is Enough."
This past week, a planned overnight sleep-in protest was broken up by the security forces. Founding member and rapper, Djily Baghdad, blames Abdoulaye Wade for the ban, the crackdown and for overstaying his welcome as president of Senegal.
The Senegalese are known for campaigning loudly, musically and enthusiastically, yet the country's reputation for democracy and stability in turbulent West Africa has taken a knock as it prepares for elections on Feb. 26.
When Senegal's top court gave its blessing last month to President Abdoulaye Wade's third-term ambitions, his opponents angrily took to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval.
Senegal was tense as police clashed with protesters demanding that the president withdraw his candidacy.