Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "On Sunday, October 29, the neighborhoods in the center of Niamey resembled the urban guerrillas of other ages", writes to Agenzia Fides Mauro Armanino, missionary of the Society of African Missions (SMA), who for years has been living and working in Niger. "Tires, stones, sticks, tear gas, marked an unapproved demonstration which turned into a violent march".
At least 23 policemen were injured in clashes, according to authorities, accusing ex-Premier in exile, Hama Amadou, of fomenting protests through the use of social media managed by his supporters in the United States and some European Countries.
According to Fr. Mauro the reasons of the protest are real: "National school education is in an advanced stage of being dismantled, public finances are disastrous, and political life is full of endless scandals and corruption. All this in the context of an extended state of emergency in various parts of the Country because of terrorist attacks".
"The 2018 financial announcement that civil society fears could put citizens on the knees has contributed to awakening it from the fatal sleep it seemed to have fallen in", the missionary adds.
Fr. Mauro, recalls that Niger has become the strategic hub of the military operations of France and the United States in the Sahel, as demonstrated by the October 5th incident in which four American "green caps" and at least five soldiers from Niger were killed (see Fides 9/10/2017).
"The living conditions of the people, the poor people in the city, farmers who have always been excluded do not matter. That is why the smoke of tires and that of the tear gas are the sign that what is being burned is the hope of the poor", concludes Fr. Mauro. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/10/2017)