No, this video does not show protesters occupying the French embassy in Niger

By: Sam Doak
September 5 2023

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No, this video does not show protesters occupying the French embassy in Niger


The Verdict False

This footage was recorded at a protest outside of a military installation near Niamey's airport.

Claim ID 942206cb


On June 26, 2023, Niger’s elected government was overthrown following a coup by officials within the country’s armed forces. Since this event, tensions in the region have risen, with Niger’s new ruling junta warning its neighbors and European states against any interventions intended to restore the ousted regime.

Niger’s relationship with France has become increasingly strained in this period. France, which previously controlled the country as a colony, has maintained a heavy presence in Niger over the years. This includes the stationing of French troops, a number of which are stationed in a base near Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey. 

A recent demand of the Nigerien junta has been for France to recall its ambassador. France declined to comply with this request, and the decision sparked widespread protests in Niamey, at which military supporters demanded a winding down of France’s presence in Niger.

As these protests occurred, numerous social media users shared a video of a crowd running through an open gate, claiming it showed protesters entering the French embassy. One user, posting on X, commented, “The citizens of Niger Republic has occupied French Embassy in their country.. This is how it should be, the Juntas are acting wisely.” Since being posted, this video has been shared widely, garnering over 700 reposts and 1,300 likes. 

While this video was recorded in Niger during recent protests, Logically Facts has determined that it was not filmed at or near the French embassy in Niamey.

In fact

In the footage, a crowd can be seen running towards a blue and white ornamental gate. A search of coverage concerning recent protests in Niamey reveals that this location was photographed earlier in the summer and included in a report published by The National. The photograph is captioned: “Officers of the Niger National Police and Nigerien soldiers stand guard at a demonstration outside a Nigerien and French base in Niamey.” 

A search on Google Maps confirms that the location shown is a road outside a military complex adjoining Diori Hamani International Airport, not the French embassy. A gas station at this location, named “Station Escadrille” matches the one seen in the video, as does the building behind it. 

A search for coverage of this event provides further context. Reporting on this protest, which occurred on September 2, 2023, Al Jazeera stated, “Thousands of people have rallied in the Nigerien capital, Niamey, demanding that France withdraw its ambassador and troops from the West African country as its new military rulers have accused the former colonial power of “interference.”

“The protesters gathered near a military base housing French soldiers on Saturday after a call by several civic organizations hostile to the French military presence. They held banners proclaiming, “French army, leave our country.”

In a video clip accompanying Al Jazeera’s coverage, the Station Escadrille sign is clearly visible, confirming this is the same location as the one shown in the viral clip. To date, no reputable outlets or official sources have reported that protesters have occupied the French embassy in Niger. 

The verdict

Protesters have not occupied the French embassy in Niamey. The video in question was filmed at a protest outside a military complex close to Diori Hamani International Airport on September 2, 2023. This claim has therefore been marked as false.

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