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

Protesters hold up signs in protest and wear headbands in the colors of the Mali flag.

Massive Demonstrations in Mali Against ECOWAS Strengthen Ruling Junta

Sanctions against Mali have, predictably, helped legitimize the ruling military. It cannot be ruled out that international pressure on the military is working. But this success could become a “Pyrrhic victory.”

Philippe Alcoy

January 16, 2022

Sudan’s Prime Minister Resigns after New Mass Protests

Protests against the Sudanese military’s restoration to power of the very prime minister it overthrew in a coup have driven him from office again. Now protesters are aiming at taking down the military junta itself.

IDF soldiers with weapons drawn

Israel Will Now Officially Shoot to Kill Palestinian Rock Throwers

It has recently come to light that the Israeli Defense Forces, the military branch of the repressive Zionist state, has changed its Rules of Engagement to allow soldiers to kill unarmed Palestinians with abandon. In Israel, the war crimes just keep racking up.

Scott Cooper

December 30, 2021

Israeli Army Uses Live Ammunition to Repress Palestinian Revolt in West Bank

After provocations by Israeli settlers claiming territories in the West Bank, the Israeli army violently repressed the Palestinian mobilization over Christmas weekend. At least seven demonstrators were shot and wounded, and dozens were repressed.

Kenza Adel

December 29, 2021

MOST RECENT

Woman waves chilean flag in front of smoke

From Chile to Greece: Neoreformist Government and Revolutionary Opposition

Chile’s new president, Gabriel Boric, has promised serious changes, but his reformist program is guaranteed to disappoint the masses. There are important similarities between his government and that of Syriza in Greece from 2015 to 2019. For an internationalist discussion, Fabián Puelma, a revolutionary socialist from Chile, spoke at a meeting of a Trotskyist organization in Greece.

Fabián Puelma

January 18, 2022

“I Am A Man”: MLK and the Memphis Sanitation Strike

Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, TN. He was there supporting striking sanitation workers.

Madeleine Freeman

January 17, 2022
Students hold sign that reads "Safe schools should not be a debate."

“I Want to Thank the Staff That Held the Line”: Interview with a Chicago Teacher

Earlier this month, teachers in Chicago voted to resume remote learning rather than return to unsafe working conditions. In response, Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot locked the teachers out of their classes and threatened to stop paying them. After a few days, the Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted to suspend the teachers’ action and called them to in person classes. We spoke to a Chicago teacher about this struggle and what it means for educators across the country.

Left Voice

January 17, 2022

Eleanor Marx: A Punk in the 19th Century

Eleanor Marx, the youngest daughter of Karl Marx and herself a socialist activist, was born on this day in 1855. A citizen of the world, she resonated with Shelley and Ibsen and participated in the main theoretical and political debates of her time.

Celeste Murillo

January 16, 2022