World Tour – Protests in Senegal, and immunity in the EU

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa correspondent, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Explosion in Equatorial Guinea—We start today here in Africa.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Spanish]

The finance minister of Equatorial Guinea appealed for international aid on Monday, one day after a series of explosions in the port city of Bata. At least 20 people died and more than 600 suffered injuries.

AUDIO: [Sounds of wind and people yelling]

Multiple blasts rocked a military barracks where explosives, dynamite, and ammunition were stored. Official accounts blame the blast on a fire that started in the weapons depot.

The Central African nation just south of Cameroon is home to about 1.3 million people. It is the continent’s only Spanish-speaking country.

Unrest in Senegal—Next we go to West Africa.

AUDIO: [Man speaking French]

Senegal’s president called for calm Monday after days of violent protests rocked the normally stable country. The protests began after an opposition leader popular with younger voters was arrested and charged with rape.

AUDIO: [Sounds of protests]

Riot police used tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital, Dakar. Supporters of the opposition party accuse the president of having his rival arrested to stifle dissent. They fear he will attempt to seek a third term in 2024, in violation of the country’s constitution. 

The unrest has alarmed neighboring countries and the United Nations. Both have called for calm.

Catalonian leaders stripped of immunity—Next we go to Europe.

The European Parliament has stripped three Catalonian separatist leaders of diplomatic immunity, paving the way for their extradition to Spain. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont called the vote a clear case of political persecution.

PUIGDEMONT: It is a sad day for European Parliament. We have lost our immunity but the European Parliament has lost more than that. And as a result, European democracy too.

Puigdemont and two others involved in the failed attempt to gain independence from Spain were elected to the European Parliament in 2019. That shielded them from prosecution on charges of sedition for organizing the independence referendum.

Spain’s foreign minister hailed the European Parliament’s decision and said it should not interfere in the country’s affairs. But Puigdemont and his political allies have vowed to take their case to the European Court of Justice.

Stolen armor returned to Louvre—And finally, we end today in France.

AUDIO: [Man speaking French, sound of cameras clicking]

Two pieces of Italian Renaissance armor have returned to the Louvre Museum in Paris, nearly 30 years after someone stole them.

The breastplate and a ceremonial helmet belonged to the collection of the Baroness de Rothschild, whose family donated them to the museum in 1922. They disappeared in 1983.

Experts discovered them during an estate auction in Bordeaux. It’s not yet clear how that family came to have them in its collection.

That’s this week’s World Tour. I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Leo Correa, file) In this Monday, March 8, 2021 file photo, demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko near the Justice Palace of Dakar, Senegal.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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