Djibouti Plans Protest for Tomorrow, Demand President Ismail Omar Guelleh Resigns

African dictators falling

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Opposition parties in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa nation that hosts the only U.S. military base on the continent, plan to demand the resignation of President Ismail Guelleh in a protest scheduled for Feb. 18.

At least 1,000 people are expected to attend the “peaceful” demonstration that may continue through the weekend, Ismail Guedi Hared, president of the Union for a Democratic Alternative, said in a phone interview today from the capital city, also called Djibouti. The coalition group represents at least three opposition parties, he said.

“People are angry,” Hared said. “The people will say we want the president to leave. We shall stay Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.”

ismail-omar-guelleh
Ismail Omar Guelleh, President since 1999

Anti-government protests across North Africa since January ousted the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, while similar demonstrations have occurred in Algeria and Libya. In Djibouti, Guelleh’s People’s Rally for Progress party has ruled the country since independence in 1977. The 63-year-old leader, who was elected in 1999, amended the constitution in March to allow him to extend his rule by two more six-year terms.

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“Guelleh has been president for 12 years and he wants to continue, but we are saying we don’t want you,” Hared said. “It is because he doesn’t do anything for the people or the country. He takes all the money.”

A spokeswoman for Guelleh said she couldn’t immediately comment when contacted on her mobile phone today. Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Yousef didn’t answer his phone when Bloomberg called him seeking comment.

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U.S. Base

The U.S has had a base in Djibouti since 2001, while former colonial power France also has 3,000 troops stationed in the country, which is smaller than the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The republic borders the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and is seen as a strategic location in the U.S.-led fight against terrorism and piracy.

Last month, exiled Djiboutian opposition leader Abdourahman Boreh called for elections scheduled for April to be delayed by as much as a year and for international monitors to oversee an electoral roll that includes 130,000 to 140,000 of the population of about 865,000.

Boreh was the chairman of the Djibouti Port and Free Zone Authority from 2000 to 2009, when he left the country following a dispute with the government. He was subsequently given a 15- year prison sentence following accusations he was involved in a grenade attack in Djibouti that didn’t leave any injuries.

Boreh denied all charges and said the case was politically motivated and unfair because his lawyers were prevented from representing him.

Djibouti ranks 148th out of 169 countries ranked in the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, education and living standards.

–Editors: Paul Richardson, Antony Sguazzin.

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11 Comments

  1. hey …. man …..from last Egypt revolution till now….do you believe U succeed in by posting something like this …. u you better keep on watching your back otherwise wawawawawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. easy to post an article or blog when you are out side of that country but when you come to the reality what ever problem is happened the poor are facing the death and all the beating and still those who are posting such article like this one are Calming the power to be the next ( what ever u call it) My pray go for all Ethiopian no more protesting let us say together “””” Go to hell for those So called opposition”””” we have seen what they have done to US in 2005 after we believed them and fight for them !!

  3. What kind of posting is it?
    there are two kinds of dictatorship.
    1. like mubarek,meles and 95% of other african leaders, who do what exactly the West/white powers aks order them to do.. to go to war or more, they dont serve their peaple, unless stealing them. every year get billions dollars to military aids, instead of aid for peaples’ wealthy !
    a country as ethiopia, to start from hailslassie(allied to UK,USA), mengistu(allied to URSS) made a long 30 years war and put ethiopians the number one poorest in the world..a sad alived human skelton in 80th! a war for what? was realy coz they need the Eritrean land…may be..but with out its peaple.but then was realy them to want to conquire eritrea?NO , eritrea was given in the hands of ethiopia, from the hands of italians in early 50th.
    2.ther are such presidents, but called tyrrants or dictators by the west and their media..coz they serve their peaple, they dont steal from their peaple, and they work hard for their peaple…and for their own interests..not to the white interests! such as Eritrean president…we saw in 2010..after the sunction by the West and US…how eritreans abroad react against that…they show and assure they love their president and want just him..and inaugred him a long live!
    it could be a 15% of eritreans who may not want him..coz they dont still understand the Worlds reality..or the Weterns hide/open agenda!

    so please, as u can be professional to do ur jobb, u dont need to have a picrure of PIA-eritrea in ur damn profile!

    2011 was the first time mubarek to be called dictator by all medias…but we never heard from cnn, bbc and more the wests medias so far other times..coz he is a dictator, but their ally.
    so, as u amhara are alergical to both tigre peaple, dont u think to need to think, who will came next in eritrea? it will be the same of PIA. he goas, a copy of him comes!
    it can be some one heat him..but even that some one is..as like Pia, when u come to think about country.

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