Tricolor flags burned, Total gas stations, “symbol” of France, vandalized. Hundreds of people demonstrated this Saturday, May 14 in Chad against France, accused of supporting the military junta in power.
Slogans like “France, get out!”, or “No to colonization”, were also heard in the streets of the capital N’Djamena, reported an AFP journalist present on the spot.
The protest was organized by the civil society opposition platform Wakit Tamma, which challenges the junta of 15 generals that took power just over a year ago. As a reminder, 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 the rebellion. The same day, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno was proclaimed by the army “transitional president” at the head of this junta.
The Chadian army essential against jihadism
Promising at the end of negotiations with the country’s political and armed opposition “free and democratic elections” after an 18-month transition, he had received the support of the international community, France, European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) on your mind. All while they usually sanction putschist soldiers elsewhere in Africa. But the Chadian army is essential in the war against the jihadists in the Sahel.
On Saturday, students and college students joined the protesters. “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. “If we continue to suffer today since independence, it is France’s fault which prevents us from being truly independent,” added Idriss Moussa, an Arabic-speaking teacher.
A very difficult dialogue
Wakit Tamma’s coordinator, Max Loalngar, told AFP that he was delighted “that the Chadians are becoming more and more aware of our struggle and are joining us. (…) France is installing dictators over our heads. We just ask that our people be respected”.
In June 2021, the Chadian head of state considered an extension of the transition and announced on May 1 the postponement of the national dialogue, at the request of Qatar, mediator of a “pre-dialogue” which has been stalled for two months. in Doha between the junta and countless rebel groups. The French presidency reacted by saying it was “committed” 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, denouncing in particular “an international community which persists in supporting an illegal and illegitimate regime whatever it takes”.