Source: www.africanakua.com | Mafany Tande Myles, Cameroon
Situations worsened outside the Intercontinental during the planned demonstration by anti-Biya protesters that was scheduled for Saturday, June 29, 2019. This happened during the afternoon hours of that day.
Swiss police used force to disperse nearly 250 demonstrators who were against the presence of Biya in Switzerland and other grievances, in a location close to the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. The demonstrators gathered early on Saturday afternoon in a square near the hotel in Geneva, waving Cameroonian flags and anti-Biya placards and posters.
As the demonstrators approached the hotel, there was an appreciable Swiss police presence surrounding the hotel. The demonstrators were pushed back with tear gas and a water cannon. Present among the demonstrators was Robert Wanto, head of the Cameroonian diaspora who has been living in exile in France for almost 30 years. “We [Cameroonians] demand that Cameroon enters the modern era of democracy, having lived for 37 years under the senile dictatorship of Paul Biya,” said Wanto. “The dictator has taken his habits to the Intercontinental where he squanders billions of our francs while the country is economically sick. We cannot accept it anymore.”
Silvain Guilaume-Gentill, a police spokesperson said his officers fired tear gas only after a group of demonstrators attempted to break through the police line to reach the hotel. He added that several demonstrators were affected by the chemical, but nobody was injured or arrested. Aside from swiss police, the Intercontinental was protected that day by Biya’s bodyguards. How much security could the residents of the Intercontinental possibly have had on that day?
It seems the journalist’s complaint was addressed accordingly. This Swiss journalist was manhandled by Biya’s guards when he was filming a clash between Biya’s guards and demonstrators. As the guards ran out to chase the demonstrators, the journalist remained, and had his equipment confiscated and was quite maimed. Six members of the presidential guard were arrested in relation to the complaint.
Currently, Paul Biya has returned to Cameroon. The difference here is demonstrators can be arrested, whether or not the demonstration is peaceful. Hopefully, the peace talks must be echoing in the ears of the leader.