Hundreds of security forces deployed to Douala on Sunday, October 21, to prevent Social Democratic Front (SDF) leader Jean Michel Nintcheu from organizing an anti-government demonstration in the city. Dozens of heavily armed police reportedly encircled Nintcheu's residence and remained in the area until 17:00 (local time). As many as 30 protesters and two journalists were also arrested along the planned protest route. The SDF had requested to hold a demonstration to condemn the government's crackdown on alleged separatists in the Northwest and Southwest regions, as well as to highlight suspected fraud during the recent presidential election, but were denied a permit.
Protests and violence are likely throughout Cameroon in the coming days as the high court is expected to release the final tally for the presidential election on Monday, October 22. A continued heavy security presence can be expected throughout major urban centers in the coming days. Political demonstrations, as well as attacks by separatist militants, remain possible.
The government previously denied SDF requests to march in February and March of this year, and authorities reportedly banned Nintcheu's planned protest days before the scheduled October 21 rally. The SDF party has increased its calls for scrutiny of the presidential election, which it says was plagued by fraud, and has publicly condemned the government's crackdown on suspected separatists in the Northwest and Southwest regions. The incumbent president, Paul Biya, who claimed victory immediately following the election, is likely to have his re-election bid confirmed by the high court on October 22.
Individuals in Cameroon, particularly in Douala, are advised to closely monitor the situation, adhere to advice issued by local authorities or their home governments, and any protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence.
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