The Chadian government suspended the operations of ten opposition parties for two months on Wednesday, February 7, for allegedly "disturbing public order" and "inciting violence." Authorities issued the ban after the parties reportedly backed calls for anti-austerity protests.
Nationwide anti-austerity protests organized by the political opposition, civil society groups, and trade unions witnessed low turnout on Thursday, February 8. A few dozen people reportedly participated in related protests in central and southern N'Djamena on Thursday amid a heightened security presence. Continued heightened security measures are expected, and additional anti-austerity protests and consequent transportation disruptions are possible, in the coming days in N'Djamena and other cities in Chad.
In January 2018, the Chadian government announced new austerity measures in an effort to reduce its civil service payroll to meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) spending requirements and ensure the organization's continued support for the country's 2018 budget.
Chadian civil servants launched an ongoing nationwide general strike on January 29 to denounce recent austerity measures, including salary and benefits cuts. Multiple unions requested public health facilities suspend the provision of minimum services on February 7, in an apparent escalation of the strike. Chadian private sector workers - e.g. bank and mobile operator company employees - also participated in strike activities on February 5 and February 6.
Individuals in Chad are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution due to the risk of violence, and adhere to advice issued by local authorities or their home governments.
On a separate note, due to the high terrorist threat, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities and remain vigilant at all times, especially when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (e.g., public transportation, train stations, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.). Due to the risk of terrorism and other security concerns, many Western governments advise against all travel to areas near the borders with Niger, Libya, Sudan, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Nigeria, and the Lake Chad region, as well as nonessential travel to the rest of the country, including N'Djamena. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to or within the country.