Paris, France – Djiboutian opposition members on Saturday gathered in front of their embassy in Paris to demand more democracy in Djibouti and the immediate release of all political prisoners. ‘No to presidency for life’, ‘Stop to arbitrary arrests’, ‘Free political prisoners’, ‘Guelleh, dictator’, ‘Ismaël get lost’, read some of the banners carried by the demonstrators.
They shouted slogans hostile to the Djiboutian regime and denounced the presumed support of France for President Ismaël Omar Guelleh, who is seeking a third term during the presidential election next April.
‘Guelleh murderer, Sarkozy accomplice,’ Maki Houmedgaba, one of the organisers, repeated many times with the help of a megaphone.
‘This rally is organised at the initiative of the Union for Democratic Alternative (UAD) that groups the main opposition forces. For us, this is an opportunity to demand democracy and free, transparent and democratic elections in Djibouti,’ Mr. Houmedgaba said.
Two other demonstrations in favour of democracy in Djibouti and against the third term bid of President Guelleh were organised last Wednesday and Friday in Paris.
According to the opposition, nearly 50,000 people gathered on Friday at the centre of the Djiboutian capital to support democracy and demand the liberation of all political prisoners, including the president of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights (LDDH), Jean Paul Abidi Noël.
Mr. Noël was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for ‘participation in an insurrection movement’ at the end of a trial described as ‘hasty and summary’ by human rights groups.