Pro-junta demonstrators gathered in Niamey on Saturday to protest France’s refusal of removing its military despite the demands made by Niger’s ruling junta. The protesters held banners and signs saying, “French Army Leave Our Country.” This was the largest protest in Niger since the July 26, coup. Since then, bilateral relations between France and Niger have soured. On August 3, Niger’s junta nullified the military agreements entered into with France by the Bazoum administration and asked the 1,500 French soldiers to leave Niger, a demand refused by French authorities, who see the junta as illegitimate.
The junta further demonstrated the authorization of French Ambassador Sylvain Itte on August 25 and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours. As a result, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on August 28th that the ambassador will remain in Niger despite junta requests to leave. He also reiterated France’s backing for President Bazoum who is currently detained. Niger
President Macron’s remarks on Saturday, accusing him of trying to “instrumentalize” the Economic Community of West African States (
ECOWAS) to expand France’s influential power in Africa.withdrewNotably, France’s influence in the region has been weakening in recent years. In 2020 and 2022, Mali and Burkina Faso – two former French colonial countries – have experienced successful coups and protests against French military force.