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Chadian police fire tear gas to break up anti-French protest

Chadian police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters who took to the streets of the capital and other cities in an anti-French protest that saw some businesses destroyed linked to France.

The demonstration was called by the Chadian civil society coalition Wakit Tamma to denounce France’s support for the Transitional Military Council which took power after the death on the battlefield of President Idriss Deby in April 2021, said a spokesperson.

Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss, leads the military transition which has not yet programmed the return to constitutional rule.

“We are demonstrating against France for its support for the transitional military council,” said Mahmoud Moussa, a secondary school teacher in the Chadian capital who joined the protest.

A spokesman for the transitional government could not be reached for comment.

Protesters vandalized several gas stations in N’djamena operated by the major French oil company TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA). Some torched French flags, while a Russian flag was hoisted on a mast in central N’djamena, according to a Reuters reporter.

As France’s influence wanes in its former colonies, recent protests in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have seen calls for stronger military ties with Russia instead of France.

Chad is seen as a strong Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in the region. Several Western countries, including France, maintain troops at bases in the country.

Chad’s capital is the central command center for France’s counterterrorism operation for the West African region. About 1,000 French soldiers are based there.

The French Embassy in N’djamena was not immediately available to comment on the demonstration.

Last week, the embassy denied a rumor that France was planning to set up new French military bases in Chad, calling it an attempt at disinformation.

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