DAKAR (AA) – Senegalese authorities on Saturday barred a peaceful protest and a musical concert against the 15th Francophonie Summit, which has kicked off in the Senegalese capital Dakar earlier in the day.
The authorities cited the lack of security for preventing the protest and the musical concert.
According to Dakar Governor, Alioune Badara Diop, the protest and the musical concert would have been organized by a group of activists opposing the summit, which will address a number of pressing issues, including the global threat of Ebola and the situation in countries, facing crises.
Diop said the activists belonged to the National Salvation Front, which is made up of a number of civil society organizations and local politicians.
The organizers of the summit, meanwhile, said it was a mere “scam.”
“It is a continuation of a colonial strategy that seeks to exploit our natural resources and form a political elite that receives its orders from the Elysee Palace [the presidential palace in France],” Noel Seck, the coordinator-general of the National Salvation Front, said.
The 15th Francophonie Summit started in Dakar earlier on Saturday in the presence of around 35 heads of state and delegation leaders.
A source affiliated with the summit told AA earlier that the gathering, which is held every two years, would look into the desire of some states to acquire full membership in the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF).
He added that the gathering would also define Francophone trends in the context of a long-term strategy.
A new IOF secretary-general will be elected during the summit to replace former Senegalese president Abdou Diouf, who held the post for three consecutive four-year terms.
Canadian politician Michaelle Jean and Congolese diplomat Henri Lopes are the frontrunners for the post.
The Francophonie summit comes as West Africa faces a variety of health, economic and security challenges, such as the crisis caused by the Ebola virus that has killed more than 5,000 people in the region so far.
Some of the security challenges include the spread of armed violence in several parts of the African continent, such as the events taking place in Nigeria and northern Cameroon, where the militant group Boko Haram is active.
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