The European Union on Friday 1st, Feb, has blamed the government of Cameroon, Central Africa, for using excessive force to disperse weekend protests. More than 140 people were arrested, including the opposition leader, and charged with insurrection.
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement: "Demonstrations recently took place in many towns in Cameroon which gave rise to a disproportionate use of force by the security forces and multiple arrests, including of the leaders of the main opposition party,"
Kocijancic added: "Finding a solution to the challenges faced by the country can only be achieved through dialogue in a calm and inclusive atmosphere where fundamental rights and the rule of law are respected," she said, according to AFP.
Following the protests, several senior party figures were arrested, including the main opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, prompting human rights organization, Amnesty International, to warn about "an escalating crackdown on opposition leaders, human rights defenders and activists in Cameroon."
The opposition had said 200 people were arrested. Communication Minister Rene Emmanuel Sadi on Friday, February 1st, put the figure at 147.
The Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), the main opposition party whose leader Maurice Kamto said that many people had sustained bullet wounds, but the government put the overall number of people injured at six, insisting that its forces only used rubber bullets and not live fire.