Supporters of Niger Tens of thousands of protesters gathered outside a French military base in Niger’s capital, Niamey, demanding that the troops leave after a military coup that received widespread support but Paris refuses to recognize.
The coup that occurred on 26 July 2023 – one of eight that have occurred in West and Central Africa since 2020 – has drawn the attention of global powers regarding the shift of power to the military in the region.
Hardest hit has been France, whose influence over its former colony has waned in West Africa in recent years as anti-colonial sentiment has risen. French troops have been driven out of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso since the coups in those countries, reducing their role in the struggle across the region against the insurgency of the Islamic State group or its affiliates.
Anti-French sentiment has been rising in Niger since the coup, but worsened last week when France ignored a junta order ordering its ambassador, Sylvain Itte, to leave. Outside a military base on Saturday, September 2, 2023, protesters slit the throat of a goat dyed in the colors of the French flag and carried a French-flagged coffin as lines of Niger soldiers watched over him. Other demonstrators carried signs calling for the French to leave.
It was the biggest demonstration since the coup, showing that support for the junta – and scorn for France – is not waning So they have to get out.”
Until the afternoon local time, no violence had seen.
France has good relations with ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and has around 1,500 troops stationed in Niger.
Niger’s junta condemned the comments as divisive and only aimed at perpetuating France’s neo-colonial relations.
France is not the only country concerned about this. The United States and European countries also have troops in the country.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who serves as ECOWAS chairman, said last week that a nine-month transition back to civilian rule could satisfy regional powers. Niger’s junta previously proposed a three-year term.