Hundreds of people marched against France in Chad’s capital on Saturday, accusing the former colonial power of backing the country’s military dictatorship.
According to an AFP journalist, demonstrators in N’Djamena set fire to at least two French flags and vandalized several Total petrol stations.
According to a fellow cop who wished to remain nameless, two police officers were injured in the violence.
The authorities had granted authorization for the protest organized by the Wakit Tamma Cette civil society platform, but a significant police presence was placed around the marchers.
“Chad’s concerns should remain solely national ones and should be debated among Chadians,” the ministry later said in a statement.
“All Chadians are welcome to participate in the inclusive conversation process,” which would pave the way for “free and democratic elections” after an 18-month transition phase.
“The international community and friendly countries like France for their constant support to the Chadian people during this transition,” said Communications Minister Abderaman Koulamallah.
According to the opposition, public awareness is increasing.
“We are glad that Chadians are becoming more aware of our struggle and are joining us,” Max Loalngar, a Wakit Tamma coordinator, told AFP.
“France installing dictators on our heads. We only ask that our people be respected.”
The landlocked African nation was thrown into turmoil after long-time leader Idriss Deby Itno died fighting rebels in April 2021.
His son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno and a military junta seized control but he promised free elections this year.
He was swiftly supported by France, the European Union, and the African Union — powers that imposed sanctions on military men who carried out coups elsewhere in Africa — mainly because Chad is a key player in the fight against jihadists in the Sahel.
He wants a national dialogue to begin on May 10th, before these elections.
The administration and more than 40 opposition parties had dispatched teams to Doha for preparatory negotiations before to the meeting.
However, they spent most of their time in luxurious hotels and were yet to meet face to face, while Qatari mediators try to find enough common ground for the two sides to start full talks.
The Chadian Foreign Ministry announced two weeks ago that it had agreed to “postpone the inclusive national dialogue to a later date to be determined, following consultations with key institutions and political actors.”
Following that, France encouraged Chad to resume “immediately” the historic national negotiations with opposition forces that had been postponed indefinitely.
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