Niger's opposition parties are
demanding an end to what they describe as government harassment aimed at
Security agents interrogated former opposition legislators
after they attended a meeting last week in defiance of President Mamadou
Tandja dissolved parliament and assumed emergency powers after
legislators opposed a referendum to change the constitution and give President
Tandja three additional years in office.
His current term expires on December
Abdul Kamardine, a human rights activist said that the arrest of several opposition leaders has escalated
tensions in the capital, Niamey.
people are harassing the opposition… like the former members of
Parliament. Last week they tried to
recall all the members of the national assembly. So they did it symbolically in
front of a party headquarters and then the government sent policemen on them
and they were beaten," Kamardine said.
said the legislators who participated in the opposition meeting are still being
held without bail.
those former parliamentarians are in police custody. And the latest I heard is
that some of them have been arrested, some like Bazoum (Mohammed, deputy president of the opposition Nigerien
Party for Democracy and Socialism… (PNDS)," he said.
said the former legislators are refusing to recognize the controversial new constitution
that extends President Tandja's term.
to the fifth constitution not that new dramatic constitution… under it those
people were elected parliamentarians (and) under it… a parliament member cannot
be harassed for something he did during his tenure as members of the House of
Assembly… so it is really a political harassment," Kamardine said.
said the government is clamping down on the opposition.
is really a political harassment just because they are still against his
(Tandja) referendum. That is why he is trying to harass them to shut them up,"
both local and international communities have condemned the recent political
developments describing them as a step back in Niger's democracy.