West News Wire: In the midst of escalating hostility between members of the government and opposition parties, a violent altercation broke out in Senegal’s parliament after a male opposition legislator struck a female colleague in the face, according to television footage.
On Thursday, Massata Samb, a member of the opposition, approached Amy Ndiaye Gniby, a member of the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition, and slapped her, igniting a series of altercations.
Before another MP tackled Samb to the ground, Gniby flung a chair back at her. As lawmakers swapped blows, accusations, and insults, the meeting was adjourned.
Since a legislative election in July in which the ruling party lost its comfortable majority, tensions between ruling and opposition leaders have increased, exacerbated in part by worries that President Macky Sall could run for a third term in 2024.
Sall has refused to state clearly whether he plans to run for a third term, a move the opposition says would be in breach of term limits and an earlier promise.
Supporters of Sall, aged 60, argue a constitutional reform reset the clock, allowing him to run again.
Another scuffle broke out in September when parliament convened for the first time after the election as legislators fought over leadership of the house.
Samb on Thursday was addressing the assembly about comments Gniby made over the weekend in which she criticised a spiritual leader opposed to a third Sall term.
“Mister President, a deputy has stood in front of this tribune to insult someone’s marabout [spiritual leader],” said Samb.
Gniby scoffed at his remarks and declared she did not care, after which Samb walked over and hit her.
Footage of the fight has been shared widely on social media, sparking debate about violence against women.