London protest against French interference in Senegal

by James Ivens, London Socialist Party

“France out of Africa!” Senegalese protesters outside the French Embassy in London on 15 February demanded an end to imperialist interference, supported by members of the Socialist Party.

Senegal’s hated president, Macky Sall, has outraged the West African country’s workers and poor by postponing elections. This followed last year’s imprisonment of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and the dissolution of his party. Mass protests have been met with violent state repression.

Senegal Protest outside French embassy.
Senegal protest outside French embassy.
Photo: James Ivens

Inflation and unemployment have hit Senegal’s youthful working class – with an average age of 18 – very hard. French capitalism still superexploits this and other ex-colonies, including compelling use of the ‘CFA Franc’ currency, with banks in Senegal’s capital Dakar its base for financial domination of West Africa.

Sall represents pro-France Senegalese capitalism. Sonko has won mass support by attacking French imperialism’s stranglehold on the nation, and hence his suppression – but beyond breaking with the CFA Franc, is not offering an alternative.

Senegal’s huge material wealth could be put directly to use solving the urgent problems of the workers and poor. By nationalising the banks, major mineral resources, and other key parts of the economy, the thievery of French imperialism could finally be ended.

Protesters in London and Senegal are demanding the immediate restoration of free elections, which the Socialist Party supports. Senegal’s proud tradition of mass movements continues. The power of the movement can be maximised by organising towards a mass party for the workers and youth to fight for their own interests, armed with socialist ideas for the future of Senegal and the whole region.