Marked by clashes between demonstrators and the police in Douala, the day of demonstrations launched by Maurice Kamto to demand the departure of Paul Biya was little mobilized.
At the end of a tense day, which will have seen a few hundred people defy the ban on demonstrating issued by the authorities, in particular Douala, Maurice Kamto, who called for a large movement to demand the departure of Paul Biya, will not have succeeded to trigger the mass movement that the authorities feared.
"The failure of these marches definitively confirms the death of Maurice Kamto", even asserted the editorialist close to power Jean Atangana on the airwaves of the national radio. Opposite, the analysis is, unsurprisingly, poles apart. “The objective of the marches was not to immediately overthrow Paul Biya's regime. The goal was to keep the initiative for actions on the ground, to panic and back down the regime, ”assures Jean-Michel Nintcheu of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) in a message posted on social networks. The goal was to keep the initiative for actions on the ground, to panic and back down the regime. "
Call for new markets
The Mouvement pour la renaissance du Cameroun (MRC), Maurice Kamto's party, while calling for the "immediate release of those arrested in full exercise of their constitutional rights", insists for its part on the fact that this march was only the first in a series of protests. And that calls for mobilization will only cease if the conditions set by the opposition before any election are met, namely the end of the crisis in the English-speaking part and the consensual modification of the electoral code.
“A mighty force arose on September 22. It must continue until the goal it is pursuing is achieved, said Maurice Kamto. Otherwise, peaceful marches will continue, calling for the departure of Paul Biya and his regime ”.
Clashes in Douala
From dawn on Tuesday, an impressive security device had been deployed in Yaoundé and Douala. At around 2 a.m., the arrival of hooded police officers and gendarmes near the home of the leader of the MRC, in the 1st district of Yaoundé, triggered the first clashes of the day between the security forces and supporters of Kamto, who had gathered near his residence to prevent his possible arrest. About ten people were arrested, including Alain Fogue, the treasurer of the MRC, and a journalist who covered the event.
At daybreak, an unusual calm reigned in Douala and Yaoundé, whose streets were deserted. It is the economic capital, famous rebellious, which kicked off the marches. Around 10 a.m., the demonstrators met at a place called Ndokoti, one of the biggest crossroads in Douala. The procession of a few hundred people then took the direction of the BP Cité crossroads, chanting "Paul Biya must leave", before the security forces intervened, drowning the place in a cloud of tear gas and using guns. water.
An identical scenario took place in Cité-sic, as well as in Bonaberi, in the 4th arrondissement of Douala, where businesses remained closed all day.
In Yaoundé, around 15:30 p.m., an armored riot police vehicle was positioned in front of Maurice Kamto's residence, located in the chic district of Santa Barbara, already surrounded for almost a week by an impressive security device. Maurice Kamto is "kept under de facto house arrest", then denounced Christopher Ndong, secretary general of the MRC, in a press release.
Its spokesperson, Olivier Bibou Nissack, was arrested after trying to leave his home to join the demonstrators. According to the MRC, one person was killed during the clashes, and more than 100 people were arrested, including 4 journalists who have since been released. A report that the authorities have not confirmed.
If the situation was tense in Douala and Yaoundé, the demonstrations took place peacefully in the cities of the Western region. In Baham, Bafang, Dshang or even Banka, dozens of demonstrators marched to demand the departure of Paul Biya, supervised by elements of the police and the gendarmerie. Although there were no clashes, the security forces proceeded to arrests, in particular in Baham, the village of origin of Maurice Kamto.