“Down with France!” France get out! Thousands of protesters gathered again on Sunday for the third consecutive day outside a military base housing French soldiers in the Nigerien capital Niamey to demand their departure, a request from the military regime that came to power in a coup at the end of July. They chanted slogans regularly heard in the various rallies organized since the putsch.
In total, since Friday, tens of thousands of people have followed one another at the “Escadrille” roundabout, near the Nigerien base where French soldiers are located. As Saturday afternoon progressed, protesters converged on this location from different parts of Niamey and some stayed overnight for a “sit-in”.
Diplomatic tensions are at their height between the ruling military regime and France which does not recognize their legitimacy. Some 1,500 French soldiers are in Niger to take part in the anti-jihadist fight under bilateral military agreements.
On August 3, the generals who took power in a coup had denounced several of these agreements. These texts all contain different notices for their effective end, one of which, relating to a 2012 text, was one month, according to the military.
At the end of August, during a meeting in Niamey, Colonel Ibroh Amadou, a member of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP, authors of the coup d’etat) had declared that “the fight will not stop until the day when there will be no more French soldiers in Niger”.
France “does not have to side with the injunctions” of the putschists
Niger also withdrew the diplomatic immunity and visa of French Ambador Sylvain Itté and demanded his “expulsion”according to an order from the Ministry of the Interior dated Thursday and an order from the High Court of Niamey on Friday.
VIDEO. Crisis in Niger: Macron salutes the work of the French ambador still in office in Niamey
France again justified Sunday the maintenance of its ambador in Niger. “He is our representative to the legitimate authorities of Niger (…), we do not have to comply with the injunctions of a minister who has no legitimacy”, affirms the French Minister for Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna in an interview with the newspaper Le Mondeuring that Paris ensured “that it can safely face the pressures of the putschists”.