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U.S. urges Senegalese government to show restraint to protesters

(Xinhua)

09:32, February 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department on Wednesday urged the Senegalese government and the security forces to show restraint to the country's protesters.

"We would call on all Senegalese to participate peacefully and actively in the political process, and we certainly urge the Senegalese government to build on its already very strong democratic tradition by ensuring that the electoral process is free, fair, transparent and inclusive," said department spokesman Mark Toner.

He said at a regular briefing that Washington urged the Senegalese government and security forces to "show restraint and honor the Senegalese people's freedoms to peaceful assembly and peaceful expression."

"We would hope that the violence comes to an end and that at least the elections are peaceful," Toner added.

Deadly clashes between security forces and protesters who are opposed to the third term for incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade broke out on Sunday afternoon in the Dakar city center and spread to other parts of the capital.

The protests broke out at a time when the country's military and paramilitary officers voted over the weekend to support Wade's re-election bid.

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