Last updated: February 21, 2011
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People in Djibouti protest againts President Gelleh

DJIBOUTI (Somalilandpress) There was peaceful protest in the capital of Djibouti on Friday. About 300 protesters gather near the governmental palace to protest against the current Djibouti president Mr. Ismail Omar Gelleh. The Police escorted the protesters after the Friday sermons along the major street that leads from the Djibouti International Seaport to the governmental palace in the business district of the country. The protesters shouted slogans that denounced the current president and demand him not to seek another six-year term. Demonstrators carried signs and large banners that called for more liberty and for political and social reform.

This protest coincided with the events taking place in neighboring countries in the region like Tunis, Egypt and Yemen. Last Friday, was the tipping point in Egypt, where thousands of people defy the imposed national curfew and took to the street to demand for President Husseini Mubarak to step down. It seems the spark of Tunis revolution is catching on and spreading throughout the region. In neighboring Yemen, thousands of people have gathered on Friday also to demand for president Salah to step down. With access to more information through the Internet, people feel empowered to demand for more liberty and rule of the law in a region known for lack of democracy.

The demonstration in Djibouti was peaceful and small in comparison. There was no any report of violence or clashes with the security forces. Organizers from different opposition parties had permission from the Interior Ministry to march on that day. Unlike Egypt and Tunis, the demonstration was not organic eruption of public frustration with current status quo, but rather more focused to demand for the current president not to seek another term and allow opposition leaders to compete more freely.

In addition of political demand, demonstrators complained about high unemployment and dissatisfaction with economic conditions. Residents of poor parts of the capital, who feel marginalized by high unemployment and poor living conditions, joined the demonstration to express frustration with current economic opportunities. The largest district in Djibouti, Balbala, which is on the outskirt of the capital, has been the center of public dissatisfaction with the current president. Residents in Balbala have been suffering from shortage of running water, blackout, lack of basic infrastructure and joblessness.

Current Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh has been in power since 1999 after replacing his uncle as the leader of the ruling party. He lifted the constitutional limit to run for a third six-year term at the end of this year. The country has been without creditable opposition for last 15 years, after the largest opposition group (The Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy, FRUD) signed agreement with current government and joined in to form a unity government. With absolute majority in the parliament, the current ruling party has modified the constitution to allow the current president to run for a third term. Number of prominent opposition leaders have accused the government of corruption and self-serving power manipulations.

Djibouti, a former French colony which separates Eritrea from Somalia, hosts France’s largest military base in Africa and a major U.S. base. Its port is used by foreign navies patrolling busy shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia to fight piracy.


Readers Comments (22)

  1. Musa says:

    We really support the legitimate rights of the Jibouti people, who do not want see the tyranant re-election. There are thousands of Jiboutian academics, who wants to compete for this golden chair, therefore, why do this dictator became the sole candidate of the Jibouti Presidency. He must be kicked out once and for all, before he transfer the power to his son, if he is again re-elected.

  2. hassan says:

    somalialnd should supporte this people

  3. Mowliid says:

    Its up to the people of djibouti; somaliland has nothing to do with this. In fact, its more worthwhile if we support the opposition and give them a taste of their own medicine.

  4. Melika says:

    Give who a taste of their medicine?..No we dont need somaliland whatever that is help.Power to the people of Djibouti I'm happy they are stepping up and hopefully get what the equality they deserve.Civil Liberty movement let's goooo!

    Support and Much love from Canada!

  5. mohamed says:

    Djibouti is for the Govt. and the Djiboutien people ISSAS,Afars, Somalilanders and who else???
    however the people are the mirror of any country and Govts. looking their achievements are
    reflected through the peoples mirror good or bad whatever. What's happening in Egypt and other
    parts of the Arab world is typical examples and the dictatorial leadership of Djibouti is no exception
    being part of the same dictatorship situations.

  6. yahye says:

    what goes around comes around!, Look what is happeningin Jabuuti, leave Somaliland alone, people of Jabuuti have the right to show their disatisfaction. Their government is making all kinds of efforts to destroy Somaliland, and that will never happen.

  7. hassan says:

    somaliland got to teach the rest of the HOA about democracy and freedom.

  8. Ali Dheere says:

    300 people making a peaceful demonstration. Does that sound like President Gelleh is hated? Djibouti is doing fine under Geele. I say, let him rule.

  9. @mGouled says:

    may I ask if there is one of you* in Djibouti currently?
    Iam not, I was just asking.
    *(commenting this pos t )

  10. bored foreigners says:

    im a foreigner living in djibouti now. i dont think most people care about what happens with the gov't. everyone is just thinking about what they will tomorrow while they chew kat. these "protestors" look like they were just bored and decided to walk down the rue de venice after prayers. djiboutians are apathetic

  11. Alexandre Abdo says:

    Well "foreigner"… it's quite pathetic if you imagine that a country more 700 thousands people and only 300 show up. You are also about one thing. They always complaint about their destitute but when it comes down to do something about it, they never have the balls.
    I say let them get raped if they decide to remain indifferent and silent.

    • middlepath says:

      ''Alexandre'' whats with the name? Sadly the french went into your minds so much that djiboutians act like one. LOL.

      And I disagree that ''let them get raped''…they will rise when they get full support from all corners of society as a lot of them LOVE gelleh…

  12. Djibouse says:

    We certainly do not need a devil advocate specially from S'landers or a "Bored" Foreigner. Djibouti it's at peace with itself. These people came to show their support to a sellout political opponent who sided with president Guelleh for the longuest time in order to gain money at the cost of his credibility or his peoples.

    keep your conceptual mind before labelling my people, we do not need parasite.

  13. Peacemaker says:

    i concur with Djibouse (but parasite was not needed)

  14. Ciise says:

    Djbouti is nothing but a base for the United States to launch drone attacks and train it’s army of Infidels. The Amisom forses train get prepared there before they shell bakara Market…It’s time the whole of the horn woke up…The longer we sleep the more pain we will feel when we wake up…Open your eyes…………

  15. Mohammed Omer says:


  16. Mary says:

    My daughter is on the US military base in Djibouti. I have not heard from her today. (I'm in Florida). We here in the US have no information on demonstration….can you tell me about it? Were US military police there? (She loves your country.) Mary

  17. hassan says:

    mary djib is burning today…and its not goin to stop like that any time soon. actualy the us base lemonier is outside of the capital city…

  18. guuleed says:

    I totaly support the jiboutian people becouse they have the rigth to make a change and ismail omar gele is a hidden dictator who don,t want any one to compete with him so he must go and allow the change that people want

  19. guuleed says:

    change must happen in jibouti and the voice of the people must be heared by dictator ismail