Senegal: Chair thrown as fight breaks out in parliament
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An extraordinary mid-day brawl erupted in Senegal’s parliament this week after an MP slapped a woman colleague during a session. Violence broke out during a tense budget discussion against the backdrop of Senegalese President Macky Sall potentially seeking a third term in power. Live TV cameras captured the moment opposition MP Massata Samb hit Amy Ndiaye Gniby from the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition.
In the middle of the parliamentary discussion, Mr Samb took to the floor to criticise comments from Ms Gniby last week when she insulted an influential pro-opposition religious leader.
Serigne Moustapha Sy, a Muslim leader who supports the opposition, had come out to oppose a third Sall term.
Following Ms Gniby’s attack on the religious leader, opposition lawmakers threatened to block parliamentary work “until this lady has apologised”.
Ms Gniby laughed off the threats in the assembly, prompting Mr Samb to walk over and slap Ms Gniby, which resulted in a flurry of scuffles.
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Ms Gniby retaliated by throwing a chair at Mr Samb before an MP tackled her to the floor.
A colleague of Ms Gnibry then picked up the chair and continued to threaten other MPs with it.
The session was quickly suspended when a fistfight erupted among the huge crowd of politicians.
The clip has since raised questions about violence towards women and girls in the West African country.
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Tensions have escalated in the African country since an election in July saw the ruling BBY coalition lose its significant majority, which forced it into a fragile coalition deal.
President Sall, who was elected in 2012, has refused to rule out plans to run for a third term, a move that the opposition claims would breach presidential term limits.
The brawl comes just a few days before Senegal plays England in the World Cup in Qatar.
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Joyous scenes erupted in Senegal’s capital Dakar this week after the West African country qualified for the knockout stage.
Following the triumph, Senegal President Sall tweeted: “IMMENSE! What a match! What players! Now go and touch the stars.”
The Senegalese leader has sought to exploit the football victories after he released clips of himself joining celebrating fans in public.
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