DAKAR - Hundreds of rock-throwing protesters clashed with police in Senegal's capital on Wednesday as the main opposition leader was due to appear in front of a judge to respond to accusations of rape.
An employee at a beauty salon accused Ousmane Sonko, who finished third in the 2019 presidential election, of rape last month and he was summoned for questioning after his parliamentary immunity was removed last week.
Sonko, a 46-year-old former tax inspector who enjoys significant support among younger Senegalese, has denied the allegation and accuses President Macky Sall's government of ginning up the charge to undermine his strongest rival.
Other top rivals of Sall have been targeted by criminal charges in the past, including former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, both of whom were seen as possible challengers in 2019.
Sall, who has not commented on reports that he might seek a third term in 2024, denies there has been any political interference in the cases.