Dozens of people gathered outside the French embassy in Yaounde to protest against remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on how the Cameroonian government is responding to the conflict in its Anglophone regions.
Some of the protesters, mainly young people, carried flags of Cameroon while others held up banners with messages opposing Macron.
The crowd demanded that Macron apologise after he said intolerable human rights violations were being perpetrated in Cameroon. Macron had added that he would call President Paul Biya and put “maximum pressure” so that the situation ends.
The French leader was responding to a Cameroonian activist at a farm show in Paris who questioned him about the killing of 22 civilians in Ntumbo village in the north-western region on February 14.
According to the United Nations, the attackers, who were dressed in military fatigues, attacked a village in western Cameroon, shot women and children and burnt others in their homes.
One of the protesters, a 30-year-old teacher, said that they were dissatisfied with Macron’s criticisms of the government’s rights record and response to the conflict.
“We are protesting against what President Macron said concerning our country and mostly, a president of his caliber, he was not supposed to speak like that against a respectful country like Cameroon. A country that fought for its independence since 1960. What we want from Macron is to ask for forgiveness to the president of the country and also to the entire nation of Cameroon. We will sleep here because we want him to ask for forgiveness immediately,” Alex Ndoumbe said.
The protesters say the government didn’t pay for nor organize their demonstration.
Cameroon has been embroiled in conflict since 2017 when separatists from the Anglophone regions sought to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia.
The army and separatists have both been accused of human rights violations by witnesses and rights organisations during the conflict which has killed about 3,000 people and displaced tens of thousands of others.