|Chadian President, Idriss Deby|
Police broke up demonstrations by opposition movements and civil society groups in Chad’s capital N’Djamena Saturday, three weeks ahead of a presidential vote expected to be won by 30-year incumbent Idriss Deby Itno.
With large numbers of officers on the streets, few were able to answer calls to turn out from opposition figures including Succes Masra, who was barred earlier this month from running for president by the Supreme Court.
Authorities had on Friday barred demonstrations, citing a risk of “disturbances to public order”.
Saleh Kebzabo, who withdrew from the presidential campaign in protest at heavy-handed tactics by the security forces, was prevented from reaching a protest in central N’Djamena, sources close to him told AFP.
Mahamat Nour Ahmed Ibedou, general secretary of rights group CTDDH, was arrested, the body’s secretary Abbas Al-Hassan told AFP.
And police surrounded the headquarters of barred candidate Masra’s political party The Transformers, while security forces quickly dispersed small groups of demonstrators who had burned tyres in some parts of the city.
Opposition parties and civil society groups are clamouring for change at the top of Chad’s government after decades under Deby’s iron fist.
They accuse the president, who came to power in a 1990 coup, of crushing all dissent in recent months by banning political rallies or violently dispersing them.
Three people were killed last month when soldiers and police attempted to arrest opposition candidate Yaya Dillo Djerou, including Yaya Dillo’s mother.
Amnesty International has called Chad’s bans on demonstrations “unnecessary and disproportionate”, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this month said he “regrets the use of violence” in the run-up to the election.
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