Friday, January 27, 2012

Unbelievable.  The '5 sages' decided President Wade can run for a 3rd term and people are out in the streets, in the downtown and and university areas.  My friend Mamadou and I were coming home from a concert downtown when we passed a half dozen police.  I'd never seen a tear gas gun up close before.  A row of burning tires forced us to turn around and take the corniche home.  A few trucks of riot police were positioned at corners downtown.  As we headed up the corniche, a group of guys had just spread tires and scrap wood across all 4 lanes in both directions and were trying to light it on fire.  Mamadou was about to go move a tire so we could cross, but the taxi driver warned him off, and we turned around, hopped a large curb, and found another way out.  Here police were just putting out some burning tires.  It appears that groups of people are moving around, perhaps playing cat and mouse with police, making their anger visible. I didn't see any large crowds, although we didn't go past the obelisk park where the rally was this afternoon.  I've come to learn how much steel is in a steel belted radial tonight.  It's a decent amount, really.  When we drove through the university, a few dozen students were standing around, but they weren't burning anything.  The nightclub a block from my house looked as busy as ever.  They didn't let the decision spoil their night.

Most people assumed this decision would go this way.  The fatalism here has been earned the hard way, as tonight suggests one more time.  Wade had appointed all the judges and raised their pay by some exorbitant amount.  Rumors, which spread rapidly and change quickly, here, suggested the court would avoid a decision claiming they weren't qualified.  I guess at least the last part was right.  The people here were already enraged at the president's efforts.  Some have spoken about a fear of violence, and I don't think burning a few tires counts yet.

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