At the initiative of the M62 movement, hundreds of Nigeriens protested in the streets of Niamey on Sunday 18 September against the French military presence in the country. The demonstrators also expressed their frustration with the high cost of living in Niger.
Expelled from Bamako by the ruling junta, about 3,000 French troops are still deployed in the Sahel, specifically in Niger. However, anti-French feeling continues to grow in the former colonies. After Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, it is Niger, one of France’s main allies in the Sahel, that is demonstrating against the Hexagon. This Sunday indeed, at the request of the M62 movement which gathers civil society organizations, Nigeriens took to the streets of Niamey to express their frustration with the presence of the French Barkhane force in Niger.
On some of the demonstrators’ placards, one could read the following: “Get out of the criminal French army” or “the colonial army Barkhane must go”. Others shouted “Barkhane out”, “Down with France”, and at the same time praised Russia “Long live Putin and Russia”. After walking a few streets of the Nigerien capital, the demonstrators held a meeting in front of the headquarters of the National Assembly.
As a reminder, last April, Niger’s deputies voted by a large majority for a text authorizing the deployment of foreign forces on the territory, notably French, to fight jihadists.
The other reason behind the demonstration was the cost of living in Niger, where a rise in the price of diesel fuel has caused inflation on basic necessities.