[16/10/2013] Translation by Golden Misabiko
Niamey – Thousands of people, anti-Areva , were demonstrating last Saturday in the mining town of Arlit in the north of Niger to show their anger against the French nuclear group Areva that has been mining uranium for over 40 years in this desert zone, as reported by the organizers.
“ The purpose of this demonstration of about 5000 people is to support the government in the up-coming discussion with Areva on our uranium”, Azaoua Mamane, one of the organizers told AFP.
The number of 5000 participants in the demonstration was confirmed by other sources. According to the private radio, Anfani, the manifestation was organized by the coalition of the civil society organizations groups.
The demonstrators who were local elected ones ( MPs ), members of civil society, inhabitants- demonstrated in the town streets before organizing a rally at the place of “Concertation “( Place de la Concertation, said the inhabitants joined by AFP.
“The protester s were singing the songs against Areva accusing it to be polluting their environment that is already very hostile, to be causing radioactivity and not to care about peoples’ everyday’s concerns”, said an MP who was participating in this manifestation.
“ The population is inheriting 50 million tons of radioactive tailings that are stocked in Arlit and Areva continue to pump out 20 million cubic meters of water every year while people die of thirst”, denounced Mamane.
According to him, “the streets and habitats of Arlit are constructed by radioactive materials and the aquifer waters are drying because of Areva”.
“What is worse is that Areva continues to deny all this”, he regretted. The prime minister of Niger Brigi Rafini, confirmed on Oct 6, 2013 that Niger is going to look into the mining contracts with Areva very carefully. The contracts he says are unfair.
Niger, which is one of the most important uranium producers in the world, remains however, one of the poorest countries in the world, had declared in October 2012 the historic partnership unfair and imbalanced with Areva and had claimed more significant returns.