A nighttime curfew was declared in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena and other towns, after violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces on Thursday.
The army-led government says about 50 people died.
In an unusual move, the US embassy in Chad released a photo of its ambassador kneeling in a bloody street.
A statement from the United States expressed deep concern and called for a reduction in tensions, but the opposition said the protests would continue.
Thursday’s unrest came on the day that President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno originally planned to step down, but a meeting earlier this month extended his rule for another two years.
He was elected president by the military in 2021, following the death of his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had been in power since 1990.
The United States also wrote of its support for the protesters’ cause – the transition to democracy: “The United States believes that a government elected by the people of Chad through a free and fair election overseen by independent institutions will offer the best. We hope Chad emerges from decades of conflict.”
This came after people in plain clothes cleared checkpoints and killed four people outside the gates of the US embassy. It is unclear why the US embassy was targeted.
The African Union (AU) also condemned the violence.
“I strongly condemn the suppression of demonstrations that lead to the death of men in Chad,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, head of the AU commission. Posted on Twitter.using the French name of the country.
The UN and the EU also called for calm.
Officials said an investigation will be launched and those responsible for the deaths of members of the security forces will be tried by a special commission.
One of the acts allegedly committed by the protesters was the looting and burning of the headquarters of newly appointed Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo’s political party.
According to the Reuters news agency, Mr. Kebzabo described the protesters’ actions as “an armed popular uprising to seize power by force”.
At a news conference, the country’s spokesperson accused the protesters of participating in an uprising, describing their actions as “not peaceful”.
Chad recently formed a new unity government after negotiations between the military junta, political parties and armed groups. However, some of the opposition boycotted the initiative, which they thought was not inclusive.