On July 26, a group of Nigerien soldiers led by General Abdourahamane Tiani announced the overthrow of the government of Mohamed Bazoum, the staunch ally - or rather lackey - of French imperialism in the region. The overthrow of Bazoum by military forces joins the list of other examples since 2020 such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. This way, a de facto bloc of four bordering countries is being formed to oppose France's imperialist grip on the region.
It is clear that the overthrow of the pro-imperialist government in Niger is enjoying massive popular support, as in Mali and Burkina Faso. The M62, a civilian anti-imperialist movement fighting against the presence of French troops on Nigerien soil and whose leader was imprisoned by Bazoum's government, called for a demonstration on July 30. This call met with an enthusiastic response from the Nigerien population. According to a Nigerien journalist quoted by Le Monde, it was the most massive demonstration the capital Niamey had ever seen. Demonstrators expressed their hostility to French imperialism by burning French flags, followed by attacks on the French embassy - the ultimate symbol of French imperialism in the country – and they ended by setting fire to the embassy.
The massive expressions of opposition to French imperialism and the governments in its pay - in Niger as in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea - clearly show that what is happening is no mere "palace coup". On the contrary, we are witnessing a turning point in the history of West Africa, and the genesis of a popular will to put an end to France's neo-colonial domination. This does not mean that we have any confidence in the military forces in power. However, the existence of a mass anti-imperialist movement in all these countries shows us that the anti-imperialist turn is here to stay, with or without military leadership.
France and the imperialist powers - including the United States and the European Union - were quick to realize the potential of this turning point to change the situation in the region. France and the other European imperialists unleashed a series of condemnations against the "putschists", followed by economic sanctions. Beyond this, imperialism is proving increasingly hawkish in the face of the challenge to its hegemony. Niger's new government has announced that it unveiled a French plan for a counter-coup. Moreover, ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), under the sway of Nigeria, has given Niger an ultimatum, threatening military intervention if Bazoum is not reinstated by August 7. Burkina Faso and Mali, for their part, showed their support for Niger and stated that they would consider any military intervention against Niger as a declaration of war. Nigerien opposition parties such as Moden Fa Lumana, the M62 movement and trade unions have declared their support for the new government and are ready to mobilize against foreign intervention. A war between the Nigerian army (of Nigeria), supported by European imperialism, and the Nigerien population, supported by their Burkinabè and Malian allies, seems imminent.
The presence of Russian flags and pro-Putin slogans at demonstrations in support of the overthrow shows a willingness to break with the imperialist camp. This means, in the current context, not necessarily a conspiracy led by Russia or Wagner, as the pro-imperialist press would go out of their way to say, but rather the need for a counterweight against the military might of imperialism and the threat of military intervention.
We declare our resolute opposition to any military intervention and economic sanctions against Niger. We stand with the peoples of Niger and the Sahel against all neo-colonial aggression. The peoples of the Sahel have every right to fight against French imperialism and its lackeys, by any means necessary. There's only one thing for France to do in the Sahel, and that's to get out! Nigerian people and soldiers must refuse to fight against their Nigerien brothers and sisters!
Down with French imperialism!
France out of the Sahel! France out of Africa!
Down with military intervention against Niger!
Nigerian soldiers, don't shoot against your Nigerien brothers and sisters!
Let's fight imperialism and its lackeys, wherever they are present!