Embassy construction fuels protests amid Senegal property boom
Protests over the construction of a new Turkish embassy in the Senegalese capital Dakar have highlighted anger in the West African nation over a property boom that is swallowing the coastline and squeezing ordinary people’s budgets.
Riot police teargased protesters and arrested 23 people at a demonstration last week alongside a breeze-block wall constructed to house the embassy compound on a picturesque stretch of Dakar’s coast, where luxury villas, hotels and shopping centres have sprung up in recent years.
Built on a peninsula reaching into the Atlantic Ocean, the city of three million is growing at breakneck speed, fuelled by migrants from rural Senegal and neighbouring countries. Hemmed in by water on three sides, Dakar’s population is on track to hit five million by 2025, experts say.
Civil society groups have formed a movement called “No to the wall” to oppose the embassy’s construction amid growing opposition to the development of coastal areas used by residents to relax, walk and exercise. They say the embassy’s compound wall blocks access to a long stretch of pristine coastline.