Clashes erupt between police and opposition protesters in Chad

Demonstrators shout slogan during a protest in N’Damena on October 20, 2022. - Clashes erupted in the Chadian capital N'Djamena between police and hundreds of demonstrators at a banned protest over the ruling junta's grip on power, an AFP journalist saw. (Photo by AFP)
Demonstrators shout slogan during a protest in N’Djamena on October 20, 2022. /AFP

Clashes erupted in the Chadian capital N’Djamena on Thursday between police and hundreds of demonstrators at a banned protest over the ruling junta’s grip on power.

The demonstration was called to mark the date when the military had initially promised to hand over power, a spell that has been extended for another two years.

Palls of black smoke could be seen in some areas and the crack of teargas grenades could be heard.

Barricades were set up in several districts and tyres were set alight in the main avenues to block traffic.

“There were about 30 deaths, including about 10 among the security forces, and several injured,” AFP reported citing government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh.

In an opposition stronghold, streets were deserted and littered with tree branches and piles of bricks. Schools and university establishments were closed.

The violence comes on the heels of a national forum organized by the country’s military ruler Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno that extended his junta’s stay in power.

The 38-year-old five-star general took over in April 2021 after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, in power for three decades, was killed during an operation against rebels.

Deby’s junta had originally declared it would restore civilian rule after 18 months in power and he initially promised not to take part in elections that would follow.

But as the 18-month deadline neared, a nationwide forum staged by Deby reset the clock.

On October 1, it approved a new 24-month timeframe for holding elections. It named Deby “transitional president” and declared he could be a candidate in the poll.