Hundreds of people gathered at Independence Square in the capital Niamey for a mass rally, the demonstrators, responding to a call from civil society associations on the day marking the country’s independence from France in 1960, came together with a resolute demand for security and change.
Some of the rally participants were seen waving giant Russian flags, expressing their willingness to embrace assistance from various nations. Issiaka Hamadou, one of the demonstrators, emphasized that security was their primary concern, regardless of the source, be it Russia, China, or Turkey.
“We just don’t want the French,” Hamadou asserted, referring to the long-standing presence of France in the country, dating back to its colonial era. The sentiments echoed the frustration felt by many who believe that French influence has not yielded the desired results and has hindered the nation’s progress.
Among the protesters were students who voiced their grievances against the current regime led by President Bazoum, whom they blamed for unemployment and lack of opportunities. One student named Oumar passionately stated, “All that has to go!”
The coup in Niger has raised concerns among Western nations, particularly in light of the ongoing jihadist insurgency in the region. Supporters of the coup believe that France’s efforts have not adequately protected them from the growing threat, leading them to seek a more robust ally like Russia.
As the pro-coup demonstrators made their voices heard, the rally highlighted the urgency for enhanced security measures and a desire for positive change in Niger’s political landscape.