Cameroonian security forces have stopped a demonstration in the port city of Douala on Saturday organised by the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) in solidarity with the embittered Anglophone regions.
The planned demonstration led by Littoral regional SDF Chairman and activist Jean-Michel Nintcheu was banned by the authorities on Thursday “to prevent violence and damage to public property”.
The party ignored the ban and decided to go ahead with the protest which was joined by Kah Walla, the leader of another opposition party the Cameroon People’s Party (CPP).
Some leaders of the SDF were detained including Nintcheu, the regional president Emmanuel Ntonga and two journalists of Equinoxe TV who were released after a warning.
Security forces were stationed at several positions in the city and the Omnisport Stadium of Bepanda where a rally was to be held followed by a march to the Ecole Publique de Deido roundabout.
Security in Douala today.— Mimi237 (@Mimimefo237) October 21, 2017
All attempts to supress SDF-Opposition rally on course pic.twitter.com/hdiQ5alL8l
Despite the heavy security deployment and rains, some protesters came out in small numbers carrying placards demanding the release of those arrested.
The atmosphere in Bepanda, Dla pic.twitter.com/ufbEcks7Bj— Mimi237 (@Mimimefo237) October 21, 2017
Cameroon’s English-speaking North West and South West regions are facing repression from the government and security forces after protests since November 2016 in demand for fair distribution of wealth while others are calling for independence.
Several hundreds have been arrested while dozens killed during the protests which have been banned by the government.
Human rights groups condemn the government’s violent response to the peaceful protesters.
President Paul Biya, who is in Geneva is expected to return to the country on Saturday.