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An opponent of current Cameroonian president waves a national flag in front of French riot policemen during a demonstration against Cameroon's President Paul Biya.

Cameroon Protests Call for End to President Paul Biya’s 40-Year Rule

Cameroon's peaceful protests against President Paul Biya's 40-year rule have been violently dispersed by security forces with one protester reportedly killed.

Cameroonian protestors have reportedly been violently dispersed by security forces with teargas and water cannons in the economic capital of Doula. According to EWN, civilians, university students and opposition parties have called for countrywide protests against President Paul Biya's relentless 40-year rule over Cameroon. Numerous videos of clashes between demonstrators and security forces have been circulating on social media since early Tuesday morning.


Demonstrators have expressed dissatisfaction with Biya's government and have called for electoral reforms. Biya implemented a one party system in the 1980 but converted the country to a multiparty system much later. Despite being elected democratically in the past, opposition parties have alleged electoral irregularities and corruption of ballots. Opposition leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, Maurice Kamto, led Tuesday's demonstration and is said to be responsible for organising all other opposition parties to protest what has been dubbed as "President Biya Must Go Peaceful March".

At the center of Cameroon's conflict is the linguistic divide between English speakers and French speakers which is a remnant of colonial rule. These conflicts started violent uprisings in 2017. English separatists in the Anglophone region killed local mayor Ashu Prisley Ojong, this killing followed an attempt to boycott his election under Biya's legislation. The separatist group has to date, killed over 3000 civilians. Biya, a well known loyalist to France, continuously refused to call a ceasefire with the separatist group but in July of this year, a government envoy was sent to initiate peace talks ahead of the nation's December election.

Kamto spoke to international news agency DW before the demonstrations took place. He alluded to Biya's presidency as a dictatorship saying, "Have you ever seen a dictatorship consider a demonstration as legal? What law have we violated?" Kamto is also reportedly facing house arrest following yesterday's protests. One protester has reportedly been killed when he clashed with security forces on the way to barracade Kamto's house.




Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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