Djibouti’s security forces detained four opposition leaders, scuppering a planned demonstration against President Ismail Guelleh, a member of the opposition said.
“They were gathered in one place about to go out to the demonstration,” Halimo Ismael, a member of the Union for a Democratic Alternative, said today by phone from Djibouti city. “Then the police, without any papers, came and took them away.” …
Demonstrators were forced to call off an unauthorized protest last week after being prevented from gathering at the stadium. Opposition parties have vowed to hold protests each Friday until Guelleh resigns.
Meanwhile, Reuters has the story of how the Djibouti opposition is boycotting the next elections:
The opposition said it had chosen not to put forward its candidates by a March 8 deadline, leaving two names on the ballot paper — that of the incumbent, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, and Mohammed Warsama, the former president of the country’s Constitutional Court.
Self-exiled potential challenger Abdourahman Boreh, who had previously said he would not stand if Guelleh was a presidential candidate, said he had withdrawn from the contest. He said he feared the vote would not be free and fair and his supporters would face intimidation, and possibly violence.
Boreh cited last month’s protests which saw police fire live bullets and tear gas at anti-government protesters who sought to shake the authority of the 63-year-old Guelleh’s People’s Rally for Progress party, which has ruled the tiny country since independence from France in 1977.