New Orleans student groups hold “Hands off Niger” demonstration
New Orleans, LA- On August 12, New Orleans students and their supporters demonstrated during a 120-degree heat index against the potential U.S. intervention in the West African country of Niger. They gathered on the University of New Orleans campus with the group Students United UNO and chanted under a Nigerien flag and a banner reading “US: Hands off Africa.” Demonstrators passed information handouts to students as they returned to campus on move-in day.
The demonstration comes days after Nigerien leaders refused to meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and pro-West military forces taking positions around Nigerien borders. Nuland had visited the country to threaten the new government with economic warfare such as sanctions and an end to humanitarian aid.
“Having troops on the border and saying that you want to talk peace is like putting a loaded gun on the table before starting a conversation,” said Loyola Young Democratic Socialists of America member Carson Cruse
Since the military overthrew the former Nigerien president in late July, it has moved to end French control over resources in the country. It has also demanded that France remove all troops from the territory of Niger, which France has refused. France exploited Niger as a colony until 1960 and has retained enormous economic power in the country until the recent coup.
“This is an issue that has more to do with dictating who has rights over the economic policies of a nation. Not some kind of farce about what America thinks that democracy should look like,” said Antonia Mar of New Orleans for Community Oversight of the Police.