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Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

At least one person was shot dead on the first day of the protests. PHOTO: BBC

At least 100 people have been arrested following days of protests against the use of French in courts and schools in English-speaking parts of Cameroon.

BBC reports that several others are being treated with bullet wounds in hospital in the region’s main city, Bamenda.

Lawyers are opposed to the employment of court workers who do not understand the application of British common law.

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s.

The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions – eight are Francophone and use the French civil law.

English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination.

They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language.

Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon’s largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

The BBC’s Frederic Takang in Bamenda says there is tension in the north-western city and businesses and schools have been closed.

At least one person was shot dead on the first day of the protests, 10 others were admitted to hospital with four in critical condition, he said.

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