Student protest march in Djibouti-City today© Anonymous/afrol News
Politics | Human rights
Mass protests shake Djibouti
Opposition leader Ahmed Youssouf Houmed, head of the National Salvation Union (USN), this weekend had called on Djiboutians to participate in "a peaceful national mobilisation to get an end to status quo" in central Djibouti-City on Monday. The protesters were to urge long-time President Ismail Omar Guelleh to step down after what the USN claimed to be a "stolen election".
While the Guelleh regime hopes police intimidation will put a swift end to demonstrations - as they had done during Djibouti's Arab spring in early 2011 - Djiboutians even today took to the streets. As opposition leaders were mostly placed under arrest, it were the students that voiced protest in central Djibouti-City today.
An estimated thousand students and pupils peacefully marched from the University of Djibouti to the city centre in a solidarity demonstration. The protesters were mostly left in peace. Police troops may have had in mind that attacks on student demonstrations in January 2011 sparked the massive wave of protests that shook the small country in February the same year.
With most relevant opposition leaders now in house arrest, the USN and other parties opposing the Guelleh regime currently focus their protest marches abroad. Exiled Djiboutian groups however urge for new protests to be held in the country as soon as possible to challenge the arrests and the election results.
The party supporting President Guelleh last weekend claimed victory in all districts of Djibouti, despite a massive campaign by an opposition that had united to challenge Mr Guelleh. According to Mr Houmed, polling station leaders in Djibouti-City had reported a massive USN win in the capital to him, but when the official results were announced, the President's party was said to have won, even in the capital.
By staff writers
© afrol News
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