“France, get out!”, “No to colonization”: several hundred people demonstrated on Saturday in N’Djamena against the presence of France in Chad, 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, “symbol” of France, tearing off pumps and taking away certain products on display, noted an AFP journalist.
Twelve police officers were also injured, according to a police official who requested anonymity.
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.
– “Constant support” –
In the evening, the government said in a press release “that the problems of Chad remain strictly national and must be debated between Chadians” and re-invited “all Chadians to join the process of inclusive dialogue” 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, particularly France, for their constant support for the Chadian people in this phase of the transition”.
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 He then immediately dissolved Parliament, dismissed the government and repealed the Constitution.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 (EU) and African Union (AU) in the lead, while the same sanction putschist soldiers elsewhere in Africa – in particular because his army is essential in the war against the jihadists in the Sahel.
– “France, outside” –
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.
“If we continue to suffer today since independence, it is the fault of France which prevents us from being truly independent,” added Idriss Moussa, an Arabic-speaking teacher.
“We are delighted that Chadians are becoming more and more aware of our struggle and are joining us,” Max Loalngar, coordinator of the Wakit Tamma platform, told AFP. “France is installing dictators over our heads. We are just asking 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.
The French presidency reacted by saying it was “committed” to a dialogue as soon as possible, then by offering France’s 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”.