Thousands of people took to the streets of Niger’s capital Niamey on Sunday to show their support for the military junta that seized power in a coup last month, defying regional and international pressure to restore democracy.
The protesters, many of them waving Russian flags and chanting anti-French slogans, gathered at the Place de la Concertation, where they were addressed by leaders of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP), the name given by the coup plotters to their ruling body.
The rally came a day after the head of the CNSP, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, warned against any foreign intervention in Niger and proposed a three-year transition period before holding elections. Tchiani also said he did not intend to “confiscate” power and that he was open to dialogue with all political and social forces in the country.
The coup, which took place on July 26, toppled President Mohamed Bazoum, who had won a second term in a disputed election in February. The junta accused Bazoum of high treason and corruption and said they acted to save the country from chaos and violence.