Hundreds demonstrate against Chad junta

Demonstrators march through the streets of the Chadian capital N'Djamena on September 11, 2021, against the Junta that has ruled Chad since the death of Idriss Deby Itno, surrounded by a strong police force presence. (Photo: AFP)
N'DJAMENA — Hundreds demonstrated on Saturday against Chad's junta amid tight security in the capital N'Djamena, an AFP journalist reported, as tension grips the country following the April death of former president Idriss Deby Itno.اضافة اعلان

August had also seen unrest after civil society organizations called for protests against the "power grab" in April by the Transitional Military Council's (CMT) led by Deby's son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, after his father's death fighting rebels.

Deby senior died aged 68 after more than three decades in office and on the cusp of winning a sixth term in office.

The army officer had seized power in 1990 through an armed uprising.

Saturday's marchers blasted the attitude of former colonial power France, which the opposition accuses of backing the junta. 

The march, which was authorized by authorities and went off peacefully, saw slogans such as "Chad is not a kingdom," and "No to French support for the Deby father and son system."

Succes Masra, a keen rival of the Deby family and founder of the opposition party The Transformers, was for the first time attending a rally since Deby's death.

"If not just for the memory of our martyrs, we must never abandon the struggle," he told reporters in allusion to several deaths at a banned April 27 demonstration.

"We are marching today to demand revision of the charter governing the transition (to a new government) and orders putting in place committees which are not inclusive for dialogue," said Max Loalngar, a spokesman for the opposition platform Wakit Tamman.

Deby junior has promised "free and democratic" elections following an 18-month national dialogue process of reconciliation -- though the junta has not ruled out an extension to that timetable and have since their arrival dissolved parliament and repealed the constitution.

The promised dialogue, supposed to include bitter critics, has yet to begin and a 93-strong body supposed to draft a new constitution is yet to be appointed.

Army deployment

Another organizer of the march and opponent of the regime, Mahamat Nour Ibedou, secretary general of the Chadian Convention for the Defence of Human Rights, said his organization "intends to get involved in the whole transition process as well as in the institutions and bodies" of the country. 

Mahamat Idriss Deby holds almost all the powers and has assumed the titles of President of the Republic and Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces.

Chad's military, which is struggling to contain extremist Islamist rebels, last month announced it was withdrawing about half its troops from Mali to redeploy them at home.

Also on Saturday, Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum appeared to welcome the movement of Chadian forces, which were to be deployed around Mali's western border with Niger.

Instead, they may be sent to the Lake Chad region, which borders Niger to the east and which is also plagued by extremist violence, he said.

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