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Thousands Again Take Part In Anti-French Protests In Niger

Thousand people have demonstrated in front of a military base housing French soldiers in Niamey, Niger’s capital to demand the departure of French forces in the country.

The protesters were demanding that France leaves Niger and returns to her own country, vowing not to give them peace until the day they leave.

Rallies to protest the 1,500-strong French military presence have attracted tens of thousands of people to the airbase which hosts part of the former colonial power’s contingent near Niamey’s airport over the past three weeks.

Many of the anti-French protesters came with sleeping bags to stay late into the night with some saying they walked over ten kilometers in order to get there.

Analysts say the vigil offers a space for rare social exchange in a conservative society, meeting people and exchanging idea’s and sharing the pain of recent experiences.

The Nigerien generals who seized power in a July 26 coup have denounced several cooperation accords with France and are demanding Paris withdraw its troops.

However, Paris does not recognise the legitimacy of the military regime and day and night almost without interruption citizen “vigils” camp out at Escadrille roundabout, the centre of the protest movement.

The organisations behind the vigils are making sure they get participants onside, with one local association having promised to serve 1,000 meals a day. It has teams of people busy distributing meals in cardboard boxes.

Issaka Oumarou, who heads one association backing the military regime commended protesters’ determination saying adding that charitable people were preparing food to distribute for free.

President Mohamed Bazoum, a French ally whose election in 2021 had stoked hopes of stability in the troubled country, was detained on 26 July by members of his guard.

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