Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Another Attack on Protesters by French Troops in Africa, This Time Killing Three

Demonstrators demanding the departure of French troops from Operation Barkhane in the African Sahel region blocked a French army convoy last Saturday, and the soldiers and Nigerian police opened fire, killing three and injuring 17, 10 of them seriously.

Augustin Tagèl

November 30, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
Three French soldiers deployed to Operation Barkhane in the Sahel
Image: État-Major des Armées

More than a thousand demonstrators gathered in the town of Tera, in Niger, on Saturday, November 27, blocking a French military supply convoy bound for Gao in Mali. The convoy is part of Operation Barkhane, the French-led military operation headquartered in Chad that began in 2014 against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region. The protesters used tires to erect barricades to prevent the convoy from continuing on its route.

The convoy had already been blocked several times since it left Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, notably in several places along the route in Burkina Faso. At each blockade, the demonstrators make the same demands: French troops out now, and an end to the transfer of military equipment through their countries — which locals are experiencing as a form of recolonization.

In Tera on Saturday, the repression of these demonstrators by the French army and its allies in the Nigerian national police force was taken up a notch. First protesters were gassed with tear gas, and then the armed forces opened fire, killing three demonstrators and injuring 17 others, 10 of them seriously, as reported by Mediapart.

After being held up all morning, the convoy finally headed east to Niamey, then north to Gao.

The French army refutes having killed any civilians, claiming it only fired warning shots. However, a communiqué from the Nigerian Ministry of the Interior, published in a tweet from an American journalist, confirms that the convoy and its escort used force, resulting in the casualties. The French broadcaster TV5 Monde interviewed witnesses who made it clear that the army fired on the demonstrators.

The growing number of blockades along the army’s route marks an uptick in protests against the French presence in the Sahel. France is currently in the midst of reshuffling Operation Barkhane, and the populations in the countries of intervention and their neighbors — Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso — are coming out in larger and larger numbers to express that they are fed up with the situation.

Demonstrators chant “French army out now!” and “Liberate the Sahel!” and “No more French invaders and recolonization convoys!” and “We don’t want you here!” These slogans show a clear rejection of French imperialism, which has intervened in the name of the “war on terrorism” but in reality is there to protect its political, military, and economic interests.

Meanwhile, attacks by jihadist groups continue in the region. Not only has the French intervention failed to stop them, but it even seems to feed the radicalization that strengthens these groups. That is precisely why local people — the first victims — have ramped up their denunciations of the French imperialist presence, which is contributing to the destabilization of the region and leading to so many atrocities by the French and their local armed allies.

First published in French on November 29 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Scott Cooper 

Facebook Twitter Share

Middle East-Africa

Gaza and Al-Aqsa Under Attack in Latest Zionist Israeli Military Onslaught

Over the weekend, the Gaza Strip was attacked by Zionist Israeli military forces and Al-Aqsa Mosque was stormed by ultra-nationalists. We need international solidarity in the streets for Palestine, demanding that not a penny more of imperialist governments’ money go to Israel.

Emma Lee

August 8, 2022

Biden Is Trying to Revitalize U.S. Imperialism in the Middle East

U.S. President Joe Biden’s tour of the Middle East aimed to limit Chinese and Russian influence, address the energy crisis, and secure the West’s imperialist interests.

Santiago Montag

July 20, 2022

Africa, the War in Ukraine, and European Gas Diplomacy

As a result of the war in Ukraine, Africa is becoming a potential source of energy that could eventually replace Russian fossil fuel exports to the EU. Between the risks of regional conflicts and climate change, the imperialist appetite for Africa has been renewed.

Philippe Alcoy

July 19, 2022

On the Anniversary of the Nakba, Berlin Police Ban All Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations

This is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of assembly, and it is being carried out by a "left-wing" government. Several hundred people defied the ban — and 59 were detained by police.

Nathaniel Flakin

May 16, 2022


A slightly blurry photo of a crowd of people all raising their fists.

Subalterns, Postcolonialists, and the Specter of Capital: A Polemic from Marxism

The theories of the “postcolonialists” condemn us to the mere repetition of local resistance with no way out of the brutal plundering of people by imperialism, multiple repressions, and exploitation. The socialist strategy is a tool to eradicate the society based on this brutality.

NYPD Violently Arrest 5 Abortion Rights Activists at a Clinic Defense

On Saturday, five people were violently arrested protecting abortion access in NYC, while NYPD protected anti-choicers attempting to harass patients.

Molly Rosenzweig

August 6, 2022
Brazilan President Jair Bolsonaro, seen in Brasilia, Brazil in April.

Against Bolsonaro’s Coup and Reforms — For Demonstrations and Strikes without Bankers and Businessmen

Left Voice’s co-thinkers in Brazil answer a cynical class-collaborationist effort to channel Brazil’s working-class discontent into the election campaign of Lula’s Broad Front ticket. The latter represents the interests of the bourgeoisie and bosses who are tired of Bolsonaro and his threats of a coup should he lose his reelection bid.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks at a podium with arms wide open as President of the Republic of China Tsai Ing-Wen looks on.

Pelosi in Taiwan: A Risky Provocation for Imperialism

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has made the bad Washington-Beijing relationship worse. What was her purpose?

André Barbieri

August 3, 2022