Libreville – Amnesty International on Monday called on Chad’s ruling junta to “end this campaign of intimidation against critical voices” after several protesters were injured and dozens arrested during a weekend demonstration.
Authorities in the landlocked Central African country banned protests called by the Wakit Tama opposition alliance on Saturday, saying they would disturb public order.
But several hundred people still took to the streets of the capital N’Djamena.
Amnesty’s Central Africa researcher Abdoulaye Diarra said that security forces “fired tear gas, injuring several people, and arresting dozens of demonstrators who have been released on the same day”.
Amnesty said in a statement that on the morning of the protest, text messages and the internet were reportedly slowed down in some areas of the capital.
“The apparent restrictions on internet connectivity which took place around the protest must be investigated,” it said.
When Idriss Deby Itno – who had ruled the country with an iron fist for three decades – died in April, his 37-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno swiftly seized power.
The younger Deby became head of the Transitional Military Council, composed of generals loyal to his father, which dismissed the government, dissolved the parliament and repealed the constitution.
Amnesty said that at least 16 people have been killed in protests since, adding that it was still waiting on the outcome of investigations into the deaths.
Deby junior has promised “free and democratic” elections following an 18-month national dialogue process of reconciliation.
But he recently refused to rule out prolonging the transition period if “certain conditions” were not fulfilled.
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