This Saturday, May 14, the The Chadian capital N’Djamena was the scene of an anti-French demonstration organised by the civil society opposition platform Wakit Tamma. The demonstrators destroyed French oil company Total’s service stations and burned French tricolour flags, accusing the former coloniser of supporting the ruling military junta.
On the posters, one could read: “No to France”, “France out”. Hundreds of people demonstrated in Chad on Saturday against the French government, accusing it of interfering in the country’s affairs. At least two flags of the former colonial power were burnt and seven petrol stations of the Total oil group were vandalised. The demonstrations also left 12 people injured, all of them police officers, according to our information.
During the demonstration in N’Djamena, several pupils and students on motorbikes joined the demonstrators chanting “France out”. “I am demonstrating because France still wants to impose the Déby system on us,” said a young student. “If we are still suffering today since independence, it is because of France, preventing us from being truly independent,” said Idriss Moussa, an Arabic-speaking teacher, reported AFP.
After these demonstrations, the Chadian transitional government chose to be firm. “What happened yesterday is extremely serious (…), people will answer for their actions,” the Minister of Communication, Abderamane Koulamallah, retorted on national television on Sunday evening. And the president of the transition to add: “It is time that this stops. It is also time to stop the false and unfounded allegations circulating about the redeployment of French forces inside the country,” said General Mahamat Déby Itno, self-proclaimed president of the transition, during a security meeting on Monday.
This situation led to the arrest of “five leaders of the demonstration, held in the premises of the General Intelligence Directorate”. Five opposition leaders were charged and imprisoned in Chad on Monday for disturbing public order, the N’Djamena prosecutor’s office announced.
As a reminder, on 20 April 2021, the army announced that Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno, the head of a very authoritarian government for 30 years, had been killed on the front line against a rebellion. On the same day, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno was proclaimed president of the transition by the army at the head of a junta of 15 generals. He promised “free and democratic elections” after an 18-month transition, following an inclusive national dialogue with the political and armed opposition. He received early support from France, the European Union and the African Union, while in Burkina Faso and Mali, they sanctioned the colonial putschists in power in similar situations.