Source: Friends of Djibouti
London, 9 March 2013
Djiboutians in the UK met today to join the opposition movement, Union for National Salvation (USN), to add their voice and concerns with regards to the situation in Djibouti. USN appears to strike a strong cord with Djiboutians globally.
While the situation in Djibouti worsens its global community that is traditionally known for its unconditional support for the regime demonstrates a marked shift in its attitude. As a result of the continuous unrest Djiboutians both at home and abroad show a united front against what they call the “oppressive measures of Guelleh’s regime”.
Mr Barkhadleh said “I usually stay away from political affairs in Djibouti but what is going on currently cannot be tolerated. The arrests and harsh treatment of our well established Imams is an attack on all of us”.
The authority in Djibouti looks frail, overwhelmed and beaten with the level of protest, at least in psychological sense. USN seems to have won the hearts and minds of its people. As a result USN enjoys a strong popular support. This looks to force the government to resort to hard tactics adopting zero tolerance against any critical or legitimate democratic movement. However, such tactics appear to be backfiring creating more grounds for the opposition at a global level.
Mr Boreh added “the people of Djibouti have to get what they deserve. They need to be respected and treated with dignity. The government must come clean. People of Djibouti are intelligent and know what they want, which is change and peaceful transition of power”.
Despite the unprecedented clampdown on USN’s leaders including moderate religious Imams, further arrests and killings of protestors, the message from the opposition has been consistent advocating for peaceful transition of power and change through nonviolent protest and demonstrations.
Sheikh Johar pointed out “we need to have a strategic approach that is realistic, helpful and peaceful. Djibouti cannot avoid any further instability given its relatively small population [of nearly one million]. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to ensure that peace is maintained at all levels but change is achieved through adequate democratic methods”.
Young members seemed skeptical and have less faith in Omar Guelleh’s government who is generally described as “aggressive and power hungry”. Bashir said “we need to organize ourselves and create a united front”.
The meeting concluded with an action plan highlighting three points:
- 1. Plan peaceful demonstrations in the UK wherein the Djibouti Diaspora and all those who care about Djibouti get the opportunity to voice their concerns.
- 2. Strengthening the current movement to work for a better Djibouti for all at a strategic level
- 3. To ensure that the concerns of Djiboutians are heard and taken seriously by the international community