Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Protests in Burkina Faso against French Troops

A French army convoy was attacked by demonstrators in Burkina Faso opposing the French military presence in the Sahel. While the French soldiers injured four protesters, the mobilization remains strong. French troops out of Africa!

Inès Rossi

November 24, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
Protest in Burkina Faso, a large sign reads "Non a la France" (No to France)

“There’s only one thing you should be doing about the French soldiers: applaud them.” That’s what French president Emmanuel Macron told a Burkinabe woman during an official visit to Burkina Faso in 2017. It’s a statement that particularly resonates today.

In Kaya, the main city in northern Burkina Faso, Burkinabe protesters opposing the French presence in the country blocked a convoy of about 60 trucks and 100 French soldiers for several days. The convoy was carrying arms from Ivory Coast to Niger as part of Operation Barkhane, the French-led military operation headquartered in Chad that began in 2014 against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region. To break the blockade, French soldiers and local police fired warning shots, injuring four people — including hitting one person in the face, according to L’Humanité.

People in Burkina Faso, just as in Mali and Niger, are increasingly hostile to these military operations, which have been dragging on for years and have been largely ineffective against jihadism. In fact, Operation Sahel seems to be feeding the phenomenon, just as French neo-colonial domination in Africa feeds poverty and creates a breeding ground for the most reactionary organizations.

Jihadist violence has been taking a toll on the region. The latest terrorist attack, just a week ago, killed 20 people in Inata in the northern part of the country.

Burkinabes have denounced the causal link between the presence of the former colonial power and the growing strength of these jihadist groups. A young boy who shot down a French army drone was carried on the shoulders of the crowd as a hero — a David-versus-Goliath symbol representing the exasperation of the Sahel population with the French military presence in the region.

“We don’t need the French army. We can fight the jihadists ourselves,” one protester told FranceInfo.

This 13-year-old shot down a French drone with a slingshot and has been elevated to “hero” status by the population of #Kaya, which is exasperated by the French presence in the Sahel and the increase in jihadist violence. The anti-imperialist struggle belongs to the new generation!

In Burkina Faso, jihadists have killed more than a thousand people since 2005, and neither the French intervention nor the local army has been able to stop these attacks. On top of that, the French army and local allied forces have perpetuated all sorts of abuses on the population. Since the beginning of the French intervention, Islamist organizations have grown and expanded their influence in various parts of Burkina Faso and other African countries. The bottom line: the French operation has actually deteriorated the security and military situation. 

The mobilization against the French troops in Burkina Faso is not just indicative of the failure of the “war on terror” that serves to justify military intervention in Africa. It is also a direct thorn in the side of Macron, who has been trying hard to realign his military presence in the Sahel. It is a difficult, high-stakes operation, because French imperialism depends heavily on its economic, political, and military hold on a significant part of the continent; it is what allows France to continue to be part of the group of the world’s “great powers.”

It’s time to stand against the French military intervention in the Sahel, and to stand in solidarity with the people of Burkina Faso for the withdrawal of imperialist troops from Africa and for the liberation of oppressed peoples!

First published in French on November 23 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Scott Cooper

Facebook Twitter Share

Middle East-Africa

The crowd at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, holding a huge Palestine flag that reads "Free Palestine"

The Palestinian Cause Is a Winner of the World Cup

Palestine, while not having a team at the FIFA World Cup, won the hearts of fans and national teams, and grew in international support during the games.

Julia Wallace

December 19, 2022
US President Joe Biden and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi joke during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit on October 30, 2021

Biden Shores Up Imperialist Interests at U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

The United States is hosting a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Biden administration’s supposed interest in developing African leadership is just a new strategy for U.S. imperialism to plunder the continent and counter China.

Sam Carliner

December 13, 2022
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa in a suit

“Farmgate” Threatens the Very Foundations of Capitalist Stability in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces an impeachment vote Tuesday. More than a simple case of corruption, it’s a political crisis of the ruling party and of capitalist stability in the country.

Sam Carliner

December 5, 2022

The Slave Labor World Cup

Qatar’s wealth and power are built on the labor power of migrant construction workers, who toil amid semislave conditions.

Santiago Montag

November 22, 2022

MOST RECENT

No to NATO Tanks in Ukraine, Let’s Fight the Escalation!

Left Voice and our comrades in Germany issue a joint statement against NATO sending tanks to Ukraine. We call on the working class to organize against this reactionary war which continues to escalate.

Left Voice

January 31, 2023

Higher Ed Strike Fever: This Morning, Temple’s Grad Students Walked off the Job

TUGSA, organizing Temple University’s graduate students, walked out on strike this morning. Winning will take bottom-up organizing from Temple’s unions and undergraduates, shoulder to shoulder with TUGSA on the pickets.

Jason Koslowski

January 31, 2023

The New York Times Is Wrong: Trans Kids Need Support, Not “Gender Skepticism”

While state legislatures across the country have launched an unprecedented attack on trans youth, the New York Times saw fit to publish a pair of articles calling on liberals to make space for “gender skeptical” ideas among parents. They are wrong. Trans kids need more support, not gender skepticism.

Reba Landers

January 31, 2023
Temple University undergraduate students in Philadelphia walking outside a main building.

Temple’s Undergrads Are Taking On the University Bosses

At Temple University, undergraduate students are joining the ranks of higher ed workers who are fighting back.

Jason Koslowski

January 30, 2023