People came out in large numbers in Niamey, Niger Republic to rally support of last month’s military coup, whose leader has warned against outside intervention while proposing a three-year transition of power.
The latest in a string of pro-coup rallies came a day after the new military ruler in Niamey warned that an attack on Niger would not be a “walk in the park”.
According to AFP, the demonstrators chanted slogans hostile to former colonial power France and West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, which is considering a potential military operation to reinstate elected president Mohamed Bazoum if ongoing negotiations with coup leaders fail.
Although the Sahel state’s new military leaders have officially banned protests, in practise those in support of the coup are allowed to go ahead.
The demonstrators waved placards saying “Stop the military intervention” and “No to sanctions”, in reference to the financial and trade restrictions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States four days after the coup on July 26.
Sunday’s pro-coup rally was accompanied by musicians praising the new military regime, AFP journalists reported.
The head of the military junta in Niger Republic, General Abdourahamane Tiani, on Saturday, said he would relinquish power within three years and warned that any intervention by foreign forces would not be a walk in the park.
He stated in a televised address broadcast by Tele Sahel, “Our ambition is not to confiscate power. Transition period will not exceed three years; meanwhile, political parties are urged to submit their vision for the transition within 30 days.
“There’s availability for any dialogue, provided that it takes into account the aspirations of the people of Niger. However, any intervention will open a Pandora’s Box and will not be a walk in the park.”
His warning followed the arrival of An ECOWAS delegation in the country for a final diplomatic push before deciding on military intervention against the junta.