The "Protests against Charlie Hebdo" in Niger: A Background Analysis

Jannik Schritt


In many Muslim countries in West Africa and beyond, “protests against Charlie Hebdo” occurred when citizens went out on the streets following Friday prayers on 16 January 2015. However, only in Niger did these protests turn extremely violent. This report analyses the social, political and religious workings behind the protests in Niger. In doing so, it shows that the so-called “protests against Charlie Hebdo” are only superficially linked to the Muhammad cartoons by the French satirical magazine. Similarly violent protests have occurred in Niger – often in the town of Zinder – for quite different reasons and on different occasions in recent years. The report therefore argues against simplistic notions of religious fundamentalism and shows that the protests can be explained more appropriately in terms of politics and socio-economic exclusion.

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