Africa

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

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Image caption At least one person was shot dead on the first day of the protests

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.

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.

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Media captionA protester says French speakers should "back off"

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.

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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 says.

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Image caption Teachers and residents joined in with the lawyers' protests
Image caption Some English-speaking people complain of discrimination

Teachers and local residents joined the protests which started on Monday.

Educators in the English-speaking regions have been opposed to the employment of teachers who only speak French in technical schools.

Cameroon was colonised by Germany and then split into British and French areas after World War One.

Following a referendum, British-run Southern Cameroons joined the French-speaking Republic of Cameroon in 1961, while Northern Cameroons voted to join English-speaking Nigeria.

Image caption North-West and South-West are Cameroon's two English-speaking regions

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