Anger is rising in Chad. “No to colonization”, “France, get out! “: Several hundred people demonstrated Saturday in N’Djamena against the presence of France in the country, which they accuse of supporting the military junta in power.
Demonstrators burned at least two flags of the former colonial power and vandalized several Total service stations, snatching pumps and taking away some products on display. Twelve police officers were also injured, according to a police official who requested anonymity.
A strong police presence
This demonstration, organized by the civil society opposition platform Wakit Tamma, had been authorized by the authorities. A strong police force surrounded the procession and was deployed in the city. In the evening, the government re-invited “all Chadians to join the process of inclusive dialogue instead” which should lead to “free and democratic elections” after an 18-month transition.
Communication Minister Abderaman Koulamallah also “expressed his gratitude to the international community and to friendly countries, in particular France, for their constant support for the Chadian people in this phase of the transition”.
The son succeeds his father
On April 20, 2021, the army announced that Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno, at the head of a very authoritarian power for 30 years, had been killed at the front against yet another rebellion. The same day, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno was proclaimed by the army “transitional president” at the head of a junta made up of 15 generals. He then immediately dissolved Parliament, dismissed the government and repealed the Constitution.
He was immediately dubbed by the international community – France, European Union and African Union in the lead, while the same sanction putschist soldiers elsewhere in Africa.
“France installs dictators on our heads”
During the march on Saturday, several students and college students on motorcycles joined the demonstrators, singing in chorus “France, outside”. “I’m demonstrating because France still wants to impose the Deby system on us,” said a young high school student, white headband on his head. “We are delighted that Chadians are becoming more and more aware of our struggle and are joining us,” said Max Loalngar, coordinator of the Wakit Tamma platform. “France is installing dictators over our heads. We just ask that our people be respected.”
In June 2021, the Chadian head of state had considered extending the transition. He announced on May 1 the postponement of the national dialogue, at the request of Qatar, mediator of a “pre-dialogue” which has been trampling for two months in Doha between the junta and the countless rebel groups. Paris had reacted by saying it was “attached” to a dialogue as soon as “as soon as possible”, then by offering its help a few days later. On April 6, the opposition platform Wakit Tamma announced the suspension of its talks with the junta.