Senegal said Thursday it would ease an anti-coronavirus curfew and lift restrictions on inter-city travel following two nights of protests marked by violence and more than 200 arrests.
Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye said the start of the 9:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew would be pushed back by two hours, to 11:00 pm.
“From today, transport restrictions across the country are being lifted, with the curfew being maintained from 11pm to 5am,” he said on state television.
“Gatherings in public or private places, restaurants, gyms, casinos will also benefit from these relaxation measures,” he said.
More than 200 people were arrested after demonstrations broke out in several cities, including the capital Dakar, according to interior ministry figures issued on Thursday.
Protesters were dispersed by police and gendarmes using tear gas, and there were pictures on social media showing military vehicles in the street.
The anger has focused on the curfew, but transport workers have also gone on strike over the travel restrictions.
One of the centres of unrest was Touba, Senegal’s second largest city located around 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Dakar, and the seat of a politically powerful Sufi Muslim order, the Mouride Brotherhood.
Several police vehicles there were set ablaze and a coronavirus treatment centre and post office buildings were attacked, sources said.
The Brotherhood’s leader, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke, appeared on television late Tuesday to urge protesters to go home and vowed to address the problems.