The Central African Republic protesters accuse France of not supporting the central government enough.
France deployed troops around its embassy in Central African Republic, CAR, where a violent protest erupted with locals attacking the building, blaming their former colonial master for rebel advance on the country’s capital, Bangui.
The situation in the CAR became very chaotic Wednesday with the protest and efforts to contend them, and reports saying the rebels, fighting to topple the central government, had taken the last major town before the capital, leaving them just 75 kilometer.
The protesters blame France for not backing the government to root out the insurgency in the north of the country. Some accuse the European nation of siding with the rebels, known as Seleka alliance.
After a week of rapid capture of several towns, and reports of Wednesday advance, angry demonstrators in front of the embassy building hurled stones at the building, tore down the French flag and vandalized the building’s entrance, reports said.
Ahead of the troop deployment, reports say local authorities did not intervene or attempt to disperse the protest.
France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was quoted as saying French troops were promptly deployed around the compound, to secure the area.
Central African Republic has been largely unstable since independence from France in 1960.
President François Bozize of the Central African Republic came to power in 2003 after a brief war and has repeatedly relied on foreign interventions to fend off rebellions and the spill-over from conflict in neighbouring Chad and Sudan.
The rebels took up arms on December 10, saying the government has failed to respect peace accords signed between 2007 and 2011 which offered financial support and other help to insurgents who laid down their arms.
The fighting has further unsettled peace efforts in the region where neighbouring Congo Republic is yet to resolve with the M23 rebel group.