| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Protesters take to streets in Niger demanding withdrawal of French troops

On Saturday, September 2nd, in Niger’s capital city of Niamey, dozens of protesters rallied, calling for the withdrawal of French troops, as requested by the junta that took control of the country in June. This demand was voiced during the demonstration.
The demonstrators gathered near a base that was housing French soldiers after a call by several civic organisations hostile to the French military presence in the West African country.

They held up banners proclaiming “French army leave our country”.
On Friday (September 1), Niger’s military command had shot a new articulated denunciation at France on Friday, condemning Paris for “blatant interference” by supporting the country’s ousted president, as demonstrators staged a similar protest near a French base outside Niamey.

French ambassador defies Niger military junta’s 48-hour ultimatum
Defying the orders of the Niger military junta, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday (Aug 28) announced that the country’s ambassador would continue to stay in the crisis-hit capital Niamey.

Dismissing concerns that not adhering to the junta’s orders could be dangerous, Macron said that they can withstand pressure.

“France and its diplomats have faced particularly difficult situations in some countries in recent months, from Sudan, where France has been exemplary, to Niger at this very moment and I applaud your colleague and your colleagues who are listening from their posts,” he said, according to AFP news agency.
“Our policy is the right one. It depends on the courage of President Mohamed Bazoum, the commitment of our diplomats, of our ambassador on the ground who is remaining despite pressure,” Macron told a gathering of French ambassadors in Paris.

Niger-France in fresh diplomatic stand-off
The response from Macron came days after Niger asked French Ambassador Sylvain Itte to leave the country within 48 hours, accusing him of ignoring an invitation for a meeting with the ministry.

They also cited “actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger” while giving the ultimatum.

Macron also reiterated France’s support to Niger’s overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum, and extended support to any military action by The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Niger.

“One shouldn’t give in to the narrative used by the coup leaders that consists of saying France has become our enemy,” Macron said.

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