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Chad imposes an overnight curfew after deadly protests

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An overnight curfew has been imposed in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, and other towns following Thursday’s violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces.

According to the military-led government, around 50 people have died.

The US embassy in Chad, in an unusual move, posted a photo of its ambassador kneeling on a blood-splattered street.

The US expressed deep concern and called for a de-escalation, but the opposition says the demonstrations will continue.

The unrest on Thursday occurred on the day President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno was supposed to step down, but a meeting earlier this month extended his rule for another two years.

Following the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, who had been in power since 1990, the military appointed him president in 2021.

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The US has also expressed its support for the protesters’ cause, a democratic transition: “The United States believes that a government chosen by the people of Chad in a free and fair election, overseen by independent institutions, will offer the best hope for Chad to emerge from decades of conflict.”

This happened after people dressed as civilians passed through checkpoints and killed four people outside the US embassy gates. The reason for the attack on the US embassy is unknown.

The violence has also been condemned by the African Union (AU).

“I strongly condemn the repression of demonstrations that resulted in the deaths of men in #Tchad,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the AU commission, on Twitter, using the country’s French name.

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The United Nations and the European Union have also urged calm.

According to the authorities, an investigation will be launched, and those responsible for the deaths of security forces members will face trial before a special commission.

Protesters are accused of ransacking and torching the headquarters of newly appointed Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo’s political party.

According to the Reuters news agency, Mr Kebzabo described the protesters’ actions as “an armed popular uprising to seize power by force.”

During a press conference, the country’s spokesperson accused protesters of insurrection, describing their actions as “not peaceful.”

After negotiations between the military junta, political parties, and armed groups, Chad recently formed a new unity government. However, some members of the opposition boycotted the initiative because they felt it was not inclusive.

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