Over a hundred youths today staged a protest before the French Embassy in Yaounde, an action that was replicated in front of the French consulate in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.
The protests come after activist, Calibri Calibro had an encounter with French President, Emmanuel Macron on the challenges Cameroon is facing including the killings in the North West and South West regions, socio-political crisis.
Carrying posters, banners and placards, the protesters called out France, stating that it has no reason to interfere in independent Cameroon’s issues.
After the protest in Yaounde, MMI caught up with Joseph (names changed for security reasons) who shed more light on today’s protest before the French embassy.
MMI: Hello Joseph, hope you are doing well. We understand you were one of the protesters today at the French embassy.
Joseph: Yes I was.
MMI: So how did you people prepare for the demonstration and what motivated the protest?
Joseph: I just went over under pressure; we were taken from Cite (school hostel) (Ngoa Ekelle) very early this morning.
MMI: You went under pressure? Who pressured you?
Joseph: Guys came over with lists taking names promising to give out something at the end. I could have refused but I went. We only got to know the reason when we were already there. They didn’t reveal to us what was going on at the beginning or who was behind it. As I speak I cannot tell you who the leaders of the protest were, all I know is that the government planned it all.
MMI: Were you aware of this protest yesterday or you just got to know about it today?
Joseph: Just this morning. Apparently, nobody amongst all my friends in the hostel knew about it. Some backed off immediately on getting that it was going to be a manifestation.
MMI: Were all those protesting students?
Joseph: No, not all of them.
MMI: What about the banners we say you people protest with? How did you get them?
Joseph: The banners were made by the organizers. The truth is that 99% if not 100% of the protesters were there because of what will be given at the end. I am sure a government minister organized it.
MMI: Before the protest, were you sure of how much you were promised?
Joseph: No we were not sure of it but our names were taken at the beginning. After the protest, we all assembled at the reunification monument for the ‘gombo’. Each person was given 1500 FRS (3 Euros).
MMI: Who gave the money?
Joseph: The money was distributed by some guys working in the Student Union in school and obviously connected to the organizers. We, however, don’t know the source for sure.
MMI: About how many of you were paid after the protest?
Joseph: We were over a hundred. We were made to stand in groups of 13 persons each with the aid of lists earlier established then given 19500frs to share.
MMI: Images and videos show you people eating sugar balls after the protest. Some people say you people contributed to buy the sugar balls, is that true?
Joseph: No. The organizers bought them obviously because they brought the sugar balls in cartoons. If anybody bought then I guess that was at a private level. They brought and shared. Not everyone got it by the way. Some people ended up losing at both levels.
Interviewed by Mimi Mefo Info