Tuesday, April 6, 2021, a day marked by various demonstrations in Benin, all organized to protest against the extension of the mandate of President Patrice Talon. AFRIK.COM looks back at the main events that marked this day.
As this article goes to press, calm has returned to the localities agitated by violent demonstrations on Tuesday 6 April 2021. Bantè, Savè, Tchaourou, Parakou, in the Centre and North of the country had recorded demonstrations by populations who barricaded inter-state roads, causing significant material damage.
In Savè, for example, the residence of André Okounlola Biaou, a deputy of the Bloc Républicain (BR), one of President Patrice Talon’s two parties, was ransacked: three vehicles were burnt as well as motorbikes. The attackers were also wounded and reportedly fired upon by the deputy’s bodyguard.
In the same town of Savè, the Diho toll station was attacked by demonstrators who destroyed part of the installations.
In Parakou, Benin’s third largest city, located 414 km from Cotonou, the BR headquarters was ransacked as well as the radio station Urban FM, owned by Charles Toko, a BR activist, close to Patrice Talon and former mayor of the city.
In the southern part of the country, although there were also demonstrations, they did not result in acts of vandalism.
Former deputy Amissétou Affo Djobo summoned
Amissétou Affo Djobo
Amissétou Affo Djobo
On the same day, Tuesday 6 April, the former deputy Amissétou Affo Djobo, opponent and president of the national contact group of the movement « S’engager pour le Bénin », was sent a summons signed by the president of the Commission of Inquiry on the management of offences committed during the electoral period, for this Wednesday, at 9 am. If the reason for the summons is not specified, since the document simply states that she is summoned « for a matter concerning her », it is not excluded that it has a link with the events currently taking place in the country, since the former parliamentarian is one of the most active members of the radical opposition to the regime of Patrice Talon.
The government reassures the population
In the evening of Tuesday, the government opined on the events of the day, during a press conference held by its spokesman, Alain Orounla. Today, under the pretext that a mandate would be over, some ignorant people went out. And we have demonstrated that we are a democratic state. We did not say that all Beninese are with the current governance. When we are in a democracy, we recognise that our detractors may have supporters, no doubt paid and fed to agitate, and therefore in respect of democratic rules, we tolerate these small scuffles (…), » he said.
For Alain Orounla, the worst has been avoided since the initial plan of the opposition was to assassinate politicians in order to destabilise the regime. « It is already less unfortunate that we only have to deal with scuffles because the threat that weighed was a threat of execution (…) The events of today reinforce the fact that we did not invent the threats made by some opponents (…). We were right to react. This is what has dampened the ardour of these mercenaries, » the minister continued.
Finally, he reassured the Beninese population on the measures taken by the government to ensure the proper conduct of the election on 11 April.
Ransacking of Urban FM in Benin