On Tuesday, April 4, Senegal celebrated its 12th Anniversary of Independence - and the biggest celebrations took place in Dakar, the capital.
On Tuesday, April 4, Senegal celebrated its 12th Anniversary of Independence - and the biggest celebrations took place in Dakar, the capital. President Leopold-Sedar Senghor, Prime Minister Abdou Diouf and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief General Jean-Alfred Diallo, attended the huge two-hour parade of Armed Forces, youth groups, women's organisations, school children, ex-servicemen and bands. On the same day, President Senghor announced that he was reducing prison sentences of several political prisoners as part of the celebrations. Among these were former Prime Minister Mamadou Dia - convicted of plotting against the state in 1963 - whose life sentence was commented to 20 years; Mamadou Moustapha Drame - sentenced to life imprisonment in 1976 for attempting to assassinate the President - had his sentence reduced to 20 years hard labour; and, five people sentenced of complicity with Drame, were released.
SYNOPSIS: President Senghor and Prime Minister Diouf of Senegal, inspecting the Guard of Honour prior to the commencement of the parade to celebrate the country's twelfth anniversary of Independence.
The President, who had also announced the commutation of several political prison sentences as part of the celebrations, watched the first majorities of the John F. Kennedy lycee get the parade under way. Among the largest contingents were those representing youth groups from all over the country.
Accompanied by Army Chief General Diallo, the President also saw the delegations of women's groups - such as this one in National costume.
But it was the military display that was the centre of the parade, the biggest-ever held in the Senegalese capital. (PAUSE) Three thousand military personnel took part - soldiers, cadets, sailors and marines, airmen, parachutists, commandos and technicians. They were supported by contingents of police, gendarmes, firemen and customs officials. (PAUSE) Similar, although smaller, displays of civil, youth and official groups took place throughout the country, simultaneously celebrating the national occasion.
The huge parade lasted two hours.