Hundreds of supporters of the coup in Niger gathered on Thursday in the capital Niamey for a mass rally, with some waving enormous Russian flags.
The coup supporters were backing the removal of Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum by his presidential guard.
AFP journalists said the demonstrators converged at Independence Square in the heart of the city, following a call by a coalition of civil society associations on a day marking the country’s 1960 independence from France.
One of the demonstrators, Isdiaka Hamadou said: that it was only security that interests us irrespective of whether it came from “Russia, China, Turkey, if they want to help us.”
“We just don’t want the French, who have been looting us since 1960 – they’ve been there ever since and nothing has changed,” he added.
One student who gave his name simply as Oumar said, “I have no job after studying in this country, because of the regime (of Bazoum), which is supported by France. All that has to go!”
Niger’s coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani insist that he will not bow down to pressure to reinstate deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, urging his countrymen to get ready to defend their nation.