Chad police use tear gas to disperse anti-military gov’t protests

Military authorities had banned the protest called by a coalition of opposition political parties and civil society organisations.

Protesters in N'Djamena carry banners with anti France slogans [Djimet Wiche/AFP]

Police in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, have fired tear gas to disperse crowds protesting against a military takeover that followed the death of longtime President Idriss Deby on the battlefield last month.

The transitional military government – headed by Deby’s son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby – on Friday had banned the protest called by a coalition of opposition political parties and civil society organisations that want the transition to be led by a civilian.

Defying the ban, groups of protesters took to the streets on Saturday morning, chanting slogans and waving flags. Some held printed messages denouncing what they called a “monarchy”.

Police used tear gas to break up a gathering in a southern district of N’Djamena, AFP news agency reported, adding that security forces had fanned out across the city.

“The police prevented us from demonstrating,” Real Mianrounga, a civil society group leader, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency, saying he had been injured while trying to flee a police charge on a group that attempted to gather in central N’Djamena.

“Those who resisted were violently reprimanded by the police. There were some injuries,” Mianrounga said.

Some protesters set several French flags on fire in protest over what they said was France’s backing of the military transition in its former colony.

At least five people were killed during similar protests on April 27.

The military has promised to organise elections within 18 months and Mahamat Deby has named a transitional government that is overwhelmingly dominated by ruling party figures and stalwarts of his father’s apparatus.

But some opposition parties have rejected the military-led transitional government, calling it a coup and a continuation of Deby’s 30-year rule.

French President Emmanuel Macron had signalled strong backing of the military during Deby’s funeral which he attended, sitting next to Deby’s son Mahamat. But the French government has since shifted, calling for a civilian national unity government.

Source: News Agencies