Charles Nwoke, N’Djamena, Chad.
Hundreds of Chadian citizens marched in Chad’s capital N’Djamena on Thursday to protest the ruling military junta as police were out in force, AFP reported.
The Transformers Political Party and civil society groups had asked for people to come out in their numbers against “the confiscation of power” by the so-called Transitional Military Council (CMT) that has ruled the poor Sahel country since the exit of President Idriss Deby Itno in April.
They are calling for a national conference to overhaul the military junta’s charter and restore democracy and rule of law in the former French colonial province.
The CMT is led by the late President Idris Deby’s son, 37-year-old four-star general Mahamat Idriss Deby, who has consolidated nearly all powers around himself and 14 generals who were his father’s closest associates.
“We are marching to demand that democracy and justice — the hallmarks of true peace — be re-established,” said a 22-year-old protester who gave his name only as Narcisse, brandishing a sign reading “No to the monarchy”.
Security agencies were massively deployed along the three-kilometre road on a central avenue of the capital city, but the agitation was largely peaceful.
Some of the aggrieved protesters were visibly melancholic, and expressed anti-French sentiment with signs reading “France out of Chad”, and burning French national flags.
Emmanuel Macron, the French President met with the new rulers while attending Idriss Deby Itno’s funeral — the only Western head of state to have shown such commitment in identifying with the Chadian government in such perilous time.
Max Loalngar, opposition group Wakit Tamma’s spokesperson, said, “France has to choose the Chadian people as its partner in dialogue, not just a small group of individuals.”
“Otherwise it will be the eternal enemy of the Chadian people.”
Despite that the military regime has obliged Chadians of “free and transparent” elections after an 18-month “transition” that could be extended, it has equally dissolved legislatures and repealed the constitution.
The protest was on Wednesday authorised after changing the proposed route.
Opposition marches that went ahead on April 27 despite an official ban, turned into crisis in N’Djamena and in the Southern part of the country.
While the officials said six people had died as a result of the pogrom, a local NGO put the death toll at nine.
More than 600 persons were apprehended.
The military government has authorised several demonstrations in support of the military regime, but refuted to approve an opposition protest until July 12.