French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he speaks with schoolchildren in a classroom during a prevention session on the papillomavirus (HPV infection) as he visits the Jean Lartaut Middle School in Jarnac, western France, on February 28, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaToday, French President Emmanuel Macron is embarking on a trip to Central Africa. At the same time, Africans have started mass protests against his presence on the continent. In Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) capital, people are protesting in front of the French Embassy against Macron’s visit, holding Russian flags.Gabon is seeing an emerging campaign against the upcoming visit by French President Emmanuel Macron. The Gabonese are calling for an end to French interference in the internal affairs of the country and the abolition of the African Financial Community franc (the CFA franc) inherited from colonial France.Concerning the sentiments among people in the country, Privat Ngomo, speaker of the Federation of the Civil and Anti-Francafrique Movements of Gabon, has made a few comments on the situation in an interview with Sputnik.Movements against the visit are spreading across the country, rejecting the influence and presence of the former metropole, which is supported by the current government under President Ali Bongo, the activist notes.Ngomo says the way the Gabonese have chosen to show their displeasure with Macron’s arrival in the country is a pots-and-pans protest.
"Each of us takes a pan and holds a spoon and taps for 30 minutes so that Macron hears that we are unhappy; people in their cars will honk for 30 minutes, others will whistle," he explains, emphasizing that the noise will show the French president his presence is not welcomed in the country.
A pots-and-pans protest (Fr. – concert de casseroles) is a form of public protest which was practised in France by the opponents of the July Monarchy and at the end of the Algerian War of Independence and is popular in Hispanophone and Francophone countries.AfricaPutin Portraits, Russian Flags: Protests Reported Against Macron’s Visit to DR Congo1 March, 16:20 GMTThe campaign is designed to express opposition against the French heritage in Gabon. The protesters want a French military base, the sixth Marine Infantry Battalion located in the capital Libreville and established in 1975, to be closed.Along with the closure of the military base, the protesters are calling for the abolition of the CFA franc and demanding that France not intervene in the internal affairs of Gabon.The protests are not of an anti-French nature, the activist says, adding: “We see the difference between the [ordinary] French people and French officials, which since the 15th century have been plundering Africa, first during slavery, then colonialism, and now neo-colonialism in order to enrich themselves.”
"We oppose his visit because we know that in fact it is not the question of ecosystems and the preservation of animal or plant biodiversity that interests Macron," the politician states. "Macron is a capitalist, and it is the capitalists who have destroyed the planet with the over-exploitation of raw materials and resources."
In Libreville, Macron is going to attend the One Forest environmental summit dedicated to preserving the forests of the Congo river basin.Gabon is the first country on Macron’s list to visit along with Angola, the Republic of the Congo, and the DRC.AfricaNew French Policy in Africa: Paris Can’t Fully Break From Past ‘Rooted in Colonialism’ – Experts28 February, 15:35 GMTRecently, Macron revealed that the French government was planning to reshape the French military presence in Africa under a “new security partnership” with a minimum of French troops.
"The change will happen in the coming months, with a noticeable reduction in our numbers and the increased presence of our African partners at these bases," the French president said.
His statements followed the French troop withdrawal from Burkina Faso this year and Mali in summer last year after deterioration of relations with local governments. At the same time, in countries where a French military presence still exists, people are protesting, demanding the foreign troops get out.