A fistfight broke out among legislators in Senegal’s parliament on Thursday after a male opposition lawmaker slapped a female colleague in the face.
The attack reportedly happened during a budget presentation.
Opposition MP Massata Samb walked over and slapped Amy Ndiaye Gniby of the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition, resulting in a brawl.
Gniby threw a chair back at Samb before another MP tackled her to the floor. The session was eventually suspended as MPs exchanged blows, accusations, and insults.
Samb was addressing the assembly about comments Gniby made over the weekend in which she criticised a spiritual leader opposed to a third term for Senegal President Macky Sall. Samb said:
Mister President, a deputy has stood in front of this tribune to insult someone’s marabout (spiritual leader).
Gniby made fun of Samb’s remarks and declared she did not care, after which Samb walked over and hit her, sparking a mass brawl among MPs.
In July this year, reports suggested that Sall will seek a third term in 2024. This resulted in the ruling party losing its comfortable parliamentary majority in elections held that month.
Since then, tension has been growing between ruling and opposition politicians.
Sall (60) has refused to state clearly whether he plans to run for a third term.
Currently, the Senegalese constitution provides for a two-term presidential limit but Sall’s supporters argue a constitutional reform reset the clock, allowing him to run again.