HUNDREDS of supporters of the military regime in Burkina Faso have staged a demonstration in the capital, Ouagadougou, calling for the removal of French troops.
The protesters also demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and for a closer relationship with Russia.
Giant posters of President Vladimir Putin were carried by the crowd, along with portraits of the leaders of the two other military juntas in West Africa – Mali and Guinea.
France’s influence in the region has weakened markedly in recent years, in part because of the failure of its forces serving in Operation Barkhane to thwart an Islamist insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced millions from their homes.
The Russian private military, the Wagner Group, has been deploying mercenaries to several countries in the Sahel, including, reportedly, Burkina Faso.