Beyond the attack on symbols of the French presence, a “desperate” youth expressed itself Saturday in Ndjamena, according to Professor Zakaria Ousman Ramadan, President of the Chadian Center for Strategic Studies and Prospective Research.
Anti-French sentiment is spreading in Africa. A march was held at the weekend in the Chadian capital, called by the opposition coalition Wakit Tama, to denounce French meddling in the country's internal politics.
The demonstration started peacefully, but ultimately turned violent. Young people attacked several Total stations, the French multinational. “The street is rumbling. We must listen to it. I think the problem is not so much France and the presence of its soldiers in Chad, but the exasperation of the youth that has lost all hope and is looking for bearings,” said Professor Zakaria Ousman Ramadan.
After the death of Idriss Deby Itno, a major military ally of France, his son Mahamat took over the reins of Chad for an initial 18-month transition period, which is being extended. In the opinion of the president of the Chadian Center for Strategic Studies and Prospective Research, “it seems urgent to refocus debates on issues of social justice and human security” because “Chadian youth are connected to a virtual world that informs, fascinates and shapes them.”
“Tens of thousands of unemployed people and onlookers” were among the demonstrators and “this is the first time in the history of Chad that so many people, from all walks of life, have protested together,” said Professor Zakaria Ousman Ramadan, who also teaches at the Alioune Blondin Beye Peacekeeping School in Bamako, Mali.