N’Djamena – The leading union group in Chad on Tuesday called for an indefinite strike from Wednesday demanding the immediate release of six opposition activists detained following violent anti-France protests.
The Union of Unions of Chad (UST), which represents public and private sectors workers, “decided to stage an indefinite strike… across the whole country with a minimum service for hospitals,” it said in a statement.
The UST called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the six figures charged with public order offences arising from the May 14 demonstration.
Among them were Max Lalngar, coordinator of the main opposition coalition Wakit Tamma, and UST general secretary Gounoung Vaima Gan-Fare.
The protest targeted France, which the activists accuse of supporting Chad’s military junta.
Police said 12 of their officers were injured during the unrest and seven petrol stations belonging to the French group Total vandalised.
The activists, who launched a hunger strike on Monday, are to go on trial on June 6.
The impoverished Sahel state last year lost veteran ruler Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed during an operation against rebels.
His place was taken by his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, at the head of a 15-member military junta.
It promised to hold “free and democratic elections” within 18 months, but efforts to open a “national reconciliation dialogue” have so far floundered.
The April 2021 military takeover was widely accepted by Western countries, led by the ex-colonial power France, which sees N’Djamena as a close ally in the fight against jihadists in the Sahel.
Image: Twitter /@PraiseAkello