A Chadian opposition coalition on Saturday accused France of supporting what they denounce as a coup and called for organised protests.

At the funeral on Friday for President Idriss Deby, French President Emmanuel Macron, who sat next to former Chad President Idrris Deby’s son, pledged to defend Chad. He has also called for a transition to democracy.

In N’Djamena on Saturday, streets were busy and markets were open. Military presence was limited to some soldiers with rifles lying in the shade of their pickup trucks at main intersections.

Despite the semblance of calm, opposition leaders, labour unions and civil society organisations have denounced the actions as a military takeover, while an army general said this week that many officers are opposed to the transition plan.

Indeed, the military said on Saturday it has bombarded northern rebels “to the verge of despair” to stop an advance on the capital N’Djamena.

Some opposition members have called for a civilian interim president with a vice president named by the military.

A coalition of local civil society and opposition politicians called for a peaceful protest on Tuesday in N’Djamena to demand a return to “constitutional order”.

“When he visited, Macron did not once address the political requests and outlook made by the opposition politicians and the civil society, therefore, France through its president has positioned itself far from the local citizens’ concerns. In the contrary, France has supported a coup and even offered the help of its troops in case of a threat from Chadian rebels,” said coalition head, Max Loarngar.

Deby’s death on Monday (April 19), just after he won an election to extend his 30-year rule, shocked the Central African country which has long been a Western ally against militants.

A military council headed by Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, seized power after his death, saying it intends to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

The rebels, known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), came over the border from northern neighbour Libya on April 11 in the thousands, according to analysts’ estimates.

AU Peace and Security Council to discuss the situation in Chad and Somalia: