Twenty-three police were hurt and a police station was set on fire in demonstrations against financial reforms late Sunday in the Niger capital of Niamey, the interior minister and private TV stations reported.
“The toll sadly is high: we have 23 injured policemen, four of them seriously hurt. Fourteen vehicles have been destroyed, 10 of them police vehicles,” Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum said on television on Sunday.
The police commissariat at the Habou Bene market, the country’s biggest trading spot, was torched and the front of the building housing the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Niger’s voting watchdog, was vandalized, private television reported.
“All those who bear responsibility for these events… will respond for… their acts,” Bazoum said.
Local civil society organizations have for weeks been denouncing the 2018 budget for imposing austerity on one of the poorest countries on the planet.
Bazoum said a civilian group called Actice — the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Consumers of Information Technology, Communication and Energy — which had received the authorization to demonstration on Sunday was being dissolved.
More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied near the city center to protest against the government’s financial plan that they branded “anti-social” and said created new taxes.