« Protesters gathered at French military base in Niamey on Wednesday, during a demonstration calling for the withdrawal of the former colonial power’s troops.
Footage shows demonstrators spending the night outside the military base, listening to speeches, cheering and watching performances from a stage.
« I think that all Nigerians worthy of the name are engaged because we have no property more than our homeland Niger,” said one of the artists who performed to entertain the crowd.
The military government, which took power in July after ousting President Mohamed Bazoum, has rescinded a number of accords with Paris which allow its troops to be stationed in the country.
France has around 1,500 troops in Niger, ostensibly to help local forces fight extremists. It has rejected the demands to leave, claiming the junta has no authority.
The Niger government has also ordered the expulsion of French Ambassador Sylvain Itte, although the diplomat has remained in the country.
The coup on July 26 installed General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the presidential guard, as head of state.The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions and threatened military action, while the United States, the European Union, Russia and international groups condemned the action.
However, massive protests in support of the military emerged on the streets of Niamey. Neighbouring countries Mali and Burkina Faso cautioned against any intervention by other West African nations, warning that it would be a ‘declaration of war’ against them too.
It marks the fifth coup in Niger since gaining independence from France in 1960, and it is the seventh military takeover to occur in West and Central Africa within three years. »