Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Chad on Saturday to denounce the military junta and demand a return to democracy.
Thousands marched in the capital N’Djamena in opposition to what they see as a constitutional coup, with the country currently led by a transitional military council headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.
He seized power in April after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had been in power for three decades, died in mysterious circumstances.
Details of his death remain unknown, but the armed forces say he succumbed to injuries sustained while visiting troops on the front line as they battled opposition insurgents.
Tensions have been simmering in the north-central African country since, and unrest grew last month as civil society organisations called for protests.
Saturday’s march was authorised by the authorities, who have banned previous demonstrations, and passed without incident.
Protesters chanted slogans including “Chad is not a kingdom” and “No to French support for the Deby father-and-son system.” The former colonial power was quick to support the new regime in the wake of Mr Deby’s death, but later called for a civilian national unity government and elections as it faced pressure over its stance.
Succes Masra, a former presidential candidate and founder of the opposition Transformers Party, said people were marching for “the memory of our martyrs,” adding: “We must never abandon the struggle.”
Max Loalngar, spokesman for the opposition platform Wakit Tamman, said: “We are marching today to demand revision of the charter governing the transition [to a new government] and orders putting in place committees which are not inclusive for dialogue.”
Mr Deby initially promised that the council would hold elections after 18 months of dialogue involving opposition groups, but talks have not yet taken place.
A 93-member body tasked with drawing up a new constitution is also yet to be established.
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