Thousands Nigeriens protest in third day of rallies demanding withdrawal of French troops

African News

Thousands of protesters in Niger continued their demonstrations for the third consecutive day, demanding the withdrawal of French troops, a request endorsed by the junta that took control in July.

The demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Down with France! France get out,” echoing sentiments expressed since the July 26 coup.

The military regime in Niger escalated tensions with France by accusing Paris of “blatant interference” for supporting the ousted president. In response, tens of thousands have gathered near a roundabout close to the Niger military base where French soldiers are stationed.

Relations between Niger and France, its former colonial ruler and a key ally in the fight against terrorism, deteriorated when France supported ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

On August 3, the regime canceled military agreements with France, which maintains approximately 1,500 soldiers in Niger.

Niger’s military leaders declared the “expulsion” of French ambassador Sylvain Itte and revoked his diplomatic immunity, citing concerns about public order. However, President Emmanuel Macron praised Itte’s work and stated that he would remain in Niger despite a 48-hour deadline to depart.

France defended its decision to retain its ambassador, emphasizing his role as a representative to the legitimate authorities in Niger and dismissing the demands of an illegitimate minister. Paris assured his safety against pressure from the coup leaders.