The revolution for the school uniform

On New Year's Eve 1966, another coup d'état took place in the Central African Republic and Major Jean Bedel Bokassa came to power. The new dictator firmly took power in his hands and, renaming himself emperors, took up the usual business of tyrants: siphoning money out of the country, satisfying his whims and torturing those who disagree. This went on for quite some time, but the good eventually won and the dictator was overthrown thanks to his school uniform. And it was like this ...

By 1979, the economic situation of the Central African Empire had deteriorated significantly. The national debt grew dozens of times, and the ruined country kept only on subsidies from France in exchange for the development of minerals by French companies.

It would seem: this is the bottom! But Bokassa had a different opinion on this matter. In January 1979, at the initiative of the imperial, a new decree was issued, according to which all schoolchildren and students of the Central African Empire (CAI) were ordered to purchase special uniforms that must be worn. Sewing of an expensive uniform was carried out at a textile factory owned by Bokassa personally.

For the people of the country, who have been brought to extreme poverty, this was the last straw. On January 18, 1979, the first unrest broke out, protesting against the mandatory wearing of uniforms. At first, the peaceful march to the city center gradually turned into a riot, to suppress which military units were sent. As a result, up to 150 people died.

In April, the situation repeated itself. From educational institutions, the unrest spread to city quarters, turning into a spontaneous uprising - with the construction of barricades and repeated assaults of official residences. This time, the authorities reacted more harshly: soldiers of the Imperial Guard and other units were authorized to arrest children and young people aged 6 to 25, who were taken to prison and divorced in overcrowded cells.

According to journalists, Bokassa spent two nights in prison to teach the children a "good lesson." After this lesson, about a hundred corpses were secretly buried in mass graves or thrown into the river.

There is also information that about a hundred children were brought in a truck to the courtyard of the Bokassa palace in Berengo. They were forced to lie on the ground, and the drunken emperor ordered the truck driver to drive over them. After the driver refused, Bokassa allegedly got behind the wheel himself and began to ride the truck back and forth until, in his opinion, the last child died. Those who did manage to survive, the monarch, according to the journalist, personally finished off with a stick.

After the mass executions, the French authorities were forced to admit the incorrectness of their support for the Bokassa regime. A month after the events, when Bokassa and his wife went on an official visit to Libya, the French Air Force paratroopers carried out Operation Barracuda - a bloodless coup that overthrew Bokassa's rule and restored the republican form of government in the state. The Central African Empire ceased to exist.