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Niger rally hails military coup

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Niger rally hails military coup


Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Niger in support of the military coup that overthrew the president on Thursday.

The rally in the capital Niamey was organised by a coalition of opposition parties, unions and human rights activists. They have thanked the army for ousting President Mamadou Tandja, whose leadership was seen as increasingly autocratic.

But in a memo handed to the coup leaders, the coalition urged them to quickly organise a return to civilian rule via the ballot box.

The army has promised to act in the national interest but announced no details of eventual elections.

Foreign governments are also watching closely for clues that the military keeps its promise. Niger has plenty of oil and uranium that French and Chinese companies in particular are looking to tap into.

President Tandja controversially changed the constitution last year, potentially allowing him to stay in power indefinitely. This led to the withdrawal of foreign aid and the imposition of sanctions by the United States and the African Union.

Tandja recently began cultivating ties with countries such as Libya and Venezuela, both of which he has visited in recent months.

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