Thousands of protesters gathered in Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday, September 2 in the latest protests against the presence of French troops in the West African country, where the military ousted the elected president more than a month ago.
On July 26 Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum leading to chaos in the country after regional bloc, ECOWAS threatened to invade the small nation.
Videos posted on social media show protestors chanting anti-French slogans, days after the military administration announced expulsion of the French ambassador in the country.
A group calling itself M62 mobilized the weekend protests that will last till Sunday.
‘French army should leave our country,’ read placards held by protesters near the French base in Niamey.
On August 3, Niger’s military leaders announced the end of military agreements with France, a decision Paris said could only be carried out by the legitimate government of ousted President Bazoum.
Then, the military authority ordered the expulsion of French Ambassador Sylvain Itte on Thursday, revoking privileges and immunities attached to his status in a letter addressed to the French Foreign Ministry.
The weekend protests came a day after Niger’s military administration accused France of ‘blatant interference’ following remarks by President Emmanuel Macron hailing the courage of Itte – who defied the 48-hour ultimatum to leave the West African country.
The French military warned it would respond if any renewed tensions target its military and diplomatic facilities in Niger, which hosts around 1,500 French troops as part of a regional counterinsurgency force.