Opposition political parties in Niger
have vowed to continue to thwart President Mamadou Tandja's rule despite the
arrests of their members.
The opposition accuses Tandja's government of
trumping up charges to silence critics of a referendum on extending
presidential term limits, which they describe as a coup.
The determination to protest continues following a
government crackdown on Marou Amadou, leader of the United Front for the
Protection of Democracy (FUSAD) and Abdoulaye Tiemogo, editor of an independent
Amadou was arrested Monday
after the government accused him of calling for protests against a three-year
mandate to extend President Tandja's rule.
A judge released Amadou, but he was
later rearrested by security agents just hours after his release.
Mr. Marou was on trial, we decided to go there to attend the trial. But there
were more than 100 police there, and they forbade us to enter. When we decided
not to go, but to stay there to discuss with them to allow us even to allow
some of us to enter, they refused. And then they decided to use gas, and they
beat us. They gassed us," said Bazoum Mohammed, a leading member of the
opposition in Niger.
denied that the arrested opposition leader was inciting violence.
he (Amadou) said was that Mr. Tandja has no legitimacy and no legality now. And
he called on the military to respect the constitution and not to respect orders
that are not legal," he said.
said the opposition suspects Amadou was sent to a high security prison shortly
after his second arrest.
we think that he is in the Koutoukale prison, which is a prison for high
criminals. But Tandja wants to (turn) this prison into a prison for politicians
and for activists … (mixing them) with the high criminals who are there,"
said the opposition aims to continue protesting Tandja's rule.
course we can challenge him because we have people with us, and he has nobody
with him," said Mohammed.
claims that dictatorship across Africa is frowned upon.
me tell you that today, you can count how many countries there are under a
dictatorship. But some years ago in Africa you had many dictatorships, so we
are sure that today it is no longer time for dictatorship here in Niger and all
other African countries," Mohammed said.
accused President Tandja of undermining Niger's democracy.
in Niger, we had our democracy (until Tandja's referendum) … and people have
decided not to give up. We will fight, and we are sure that we will win. We
have no doubt about our next victory, and it will be very, very soon inshallah
(God willing)," he said.
of President Tandja in Niger are blaming the opposition for undermining the