“Bread and sardine are finished. Hunger has struck. Douala in chaos. The people want their victory”. These were the words used by our senior political man to describe the demonstrations that started earlier today in Douala in French Cameroun
Hundreds of French Cameroonians held a scantily attended protest today in Douala to demand an end to Biya’s rule, but soldiers and elements of the gendarmerie dispersed them with tear gas and warning shots.
The Kamto Campaign had called for demonstrations to press the 85 year-old President Biya to respect the will of the people by handing power to the man widely believed to have won the October 7 presidential polls in Cameroon.
The Douala protest is the first after the Constitutional Council reportedly denied Prof Maurice Kamto’s apparent victory in a presidential election that was subsequently scuttled by the election body known as ELECAM.
But relatively few Francophones responded to the Kamto Campaign call, underscoring that, while the Biya regime is deeply unpopular, few French Cameroonians are ready to actively confront it. Many French Cameroonians are consumed by their daily struggle for survival amid Cameroon’s economic collapse.
The Biya Francophone government had banned today’s protests and troops heavily deployed around Douala and in the nation’s capital Yaounde to prevent them. An estimated 500 people, mostly young men, gathered around the Bonanjoh and Deido districts many carried anti-government placards and leaflets. But the police swept into the areas, firing tear gas canisters and warning shots into the air. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.
The army also took to the streets in Yaounde, but the capital city, remained calm.
By Asu Vera Eyere and Rita Akana
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