As the president of France made a state visit to Niger in July, Ali Idrissa, head of civic group ROTAB, or Network of Organizations for Transparency and Budget Analysis, called on citizens to turn out wearing yellow scarves and tee-shirts. The goal: to protest France’s extraction of uranium for nuclear energy while so many in Niger lack access to electricity.

The yellow scarves are a symbol of yellowcake uranium, which fuels the plants “that makes the Metro run, that lights up the Eiffel Tower,” Idrissa says, while 90 percent of Nigerians live without electricity. Here, Idrissa discusses the divide, and his arrest to prevent civic protests from disturbing the visit of François Hollande.

Douglas Gillison

Douglas Gillison

Douglas Gillison is a former staff writer for 100Reporters. His investigative projects have included the declassification of 1,300 pages of FBI records from a 1997 political massacre and the exposure of payments by a publicly traded mining company that are now the subject of an international criminal bribery investigation.


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