Thousands demonstrate in Chad against military transition

International

People travel during rush hour in N’Djamena, Chad, Monday, April 26, 2021. Chad’s military transitional government said Sunday it will not negotiate with the rebels blamed for killing the country’s president of three decades, raising the specter that the armed fighters might press ahead with their threats to attack the capital. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

N’DJAMENA, Chad (AP) — Thousands of people protested and two people were killed in Chad Tuesday in demonstrations against the rule of a transitional military council headed by the son of the late President Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed last week.

Those killed in violence surrounding the protests include a man shot dead in Moundou, in southern Chad, and another person who died in the capital, according to local reports.

The opposition coalition called for the demonstrations despite a ban on protests. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, and there were also demonstrations in other parts of the nation.

Demonstrators carried signs demanding that power be handed to civilians. The protesters also ransacked a gas station and burned tires throughout N’Djamena, where smoke covered some neighborhoods.

Authorities also detained several protesters and journalists.

France and Congo strongly condemned “the crackdown on protests” in Chad and called for the end to all violence, in a joint statement issued Tuesday.

The presidencies of both countries expressed their support for an “inclusive transition process, open to all Chadian political forces, led by a civilian government” with the aim to organize elections within 18 months.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Congo President Felix Tshisekedi issued the statement following a meeting the two leader had in Paris on Tuesday.

France and Congo also reaffirmed their “attachment to Chad’s stability and integrity.”

Chad’s military announced April 20 that Deby had been mortally wounded during a visit to the troops north of the capital, who were battling an anti-Deby rebel group. The announcement of Deby’s death came just hours after Deby had been confirmed the winner of presidential elections held earlier in April.

The military then appointed a council to lead an 18-month transition to new elections, putting Deby’s 37-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Deby in charge of Chad in the first change of power in more than three decades.

The appointment of the younger Deby provoked an immediate outcry from both Chad’s political opposition and the rebel forces blamed for his father’s assassination. Those rebels have threatened to attack the capital, as the military transitional government says it will not negotiate with them.

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AP writers Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal and Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.

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