Cameroon frees 52 English-language activists from jail

Authorities in Cameroon have released dozens of English-speaking activists who had organized peaceful protests against what they considered discrimination by the country's French-language majority.

Several of the most high-profile activist leaders were released earlier this week following a presidential decree. They had been in jail for more than six months after taking part in demonstrations against the official use of French in their regions.

Officials said 52 people were released Friday. Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said the releases came after dialogue between the government and civil society groups.

The arrests in December and January provoked a wave of violence that paralyzed businesses in the affected regions, which also suffered Internet disruptions.

Some English-speaking activists went so far as to call for secession.