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Chad president declares state of emergency banning public meetings, censoring press

[JURIST] Chadian President Idriss Deby [official website, in French; BBC profile] Thursday declared a state of emergency [transcript, in French] throughout Chad [government website; JURIST news archive], citing increased violence between government forces and rebels in the capital city of N'Djamena. The order bans most public meetings, imposes a curfew, authorizes government censorship of the press, and allows regional governments to regulate travel. Under Article 87 of Chad's constitution [text, in French], Deby may institute any measures that he deems necessary to re-establish order for a period of 15 days. Extending the state of emergency beyond that time frame would require the approval of the Chadian National Assembly.

The current fighting in Chad is the most recent eruption of longstanding hostilities between the Chadian government and several rebel groups seeking to depose Deby. An estimated 20,000 civilians have fled the capital [New York Times report] since violence escalated earlier this month. The UN Security Council has condemned the fighting [press release; JURIST report] and urged neighboring countries to help stop the rebel forces. AP has more.

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