Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bamako on Friday to demonstrate against the French military presence. Footage shows activists next to the monument of independence. The protest came ahead of the Sahel G5 summit in France on France’s military presence in Africa. Leaders from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Chad are due to meet on Monday to find new strategies to counter-terrorism.
“Our impression is daily suffering. It is us who called France for help. We called it to help us fight terrorism. Thank God, France came. We thought they came to help. But they came to destroy us,” said Fatoumata Toure, a protester.
Around 4,500 troops are currently deployed across Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad under Operation Barkhane, France’s largest overseas operation, alongside 15,000 military and police personnel from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the Sahel region.