Protesters near French base in capital Niamey carry placards reading ‘French army should leave our country’
Thousands of protestors gathered in Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday 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.
Social video footage showed protestors chanting anti-French slogans, days after the military administration announced expulsion of the French ambassador in the country.
“French army should leave our country,” read placards held by protesters near the French base in Niamey.
A group calling itself M62 mobilized the weekend protests due to end on Sunday.
On Aug. 3, Niger’s military leaders announced the scrapping of military agreements with France, a decision Paris rubbished, citing lack of legitimacy.
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.
Macron rejected the military administration in Niger.
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.
Niger was plunged into turmoil on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.