SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 7 May 2021, Friday | النسخة العربية

Violent protests erupt in Chad after military names interim PM

Violent protests have erupted in Chad against the country’s military, which has taken control and appointed a transitional prime minister following the death of President Idriss Deby.

Demonstrators took to the streets in the capital, N’Djamena, on Tuesday, after the junta named Albert Pahimi Padacke prime minister of a transitional government.

Police fired tear gas as protesters burned tires in several neighborhoods of the capital.

According to reports, firefighters struggled to contain one blaze that was large enough to be seen from several neighborhoods away.

“We do not want our country to become a monarchy,” said a protester. “The military must return to the barracks to make way for a civil transition.”

Trucks loaded with soldiers were seen patrolling the streets around central N’Djamena.

“The police came, they fired tear gas. But we are not scared,” said another protester.

The long-time president of the country died of wounds he sustained on the front-line against rebels in the country’s north, where he had gone to visit troops, the armed forces announced on April 19.

After his death, a military council, headed by Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss, took power and said it would oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

Opposition politicians immediately called the accession of the president’s son to the position of the head of a military council an “institutional coup.” They said the army had no right to pick a prime minister.

The military council is also under international pressure to hand over power to civilians as soon as possible.

The African Union has expressed “grave concern” about the military takeover, and France and regional powers have called for a civilian-military solution.

The United States, however, has voiced optimism about the appointment of the prime minister, calling it “potentially a positive first step.”

The newly-appointed prime minister, meanwhile, called “on the entire Chadian population to join in a sacred union to save our nation.”

“I call on all Chadians… to not delay, to not lose time, to join together right away… to lay the groundwork for free and transparent elections within the timetable,” Pahimi Padacke said.

Opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo also welcomed the appointment, saying, “We are in an unusual political situation… we wish him a lot of success.”

“All Chadians must come together in this difficult period,” Kebzabo said.

The Transformers opposition movement called on Chadians to “come out en masse” on Tuesday to demand that the military council step down and to protest at France’s “negative interference” in Chad.