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Rally in capital in support of Niger coup leaders

Supporters of mutinous soldiers demonstrate in Niamey, Niger, Thursday July 27 2023.   -  
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Several hundreds responded to a call from putsch leaders in Niger's capital Niamey on Thursday to gather in support of mutinous soldiers who announced they had seized power in a coup over the West African country’s deteriorating security situation.

Some waved Russian flags, echoing similar demonstrations held after coups in neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso.

"The most important thing is for Niger to be refounded, the most important thing is for Niger to be restored to full sovereignty, the most important thing is for us to be free men," said Tahirou Guimba, Nigerien politician who was at the demonstration.

A day earlier, protesters had voiced support for President Mohamed Bazoum.

Bazoum defiantly declared Thursday that democracy would prevail.

While many people in the capital of Niamey went about their usual business, it remained unclear who was in control of the country and which side the majority might support.

The country had been seen as the last major partner standing against extremism in a Francophone region where anti-French sentiment had opened the way for the Russian private military group Wagner.

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