"A child if I want and when I want," reads the sign at the family-health centre in Niamey where dozens of Niger women come to get free contraceptives. "I was taking the pill without my husband's knowledge," said Zahratou Amadou, a 38-year-old mother of 10. "When he found out he repudiated me."
Several thousand people demonstrated peacefully in Niger's capital on Thursday in a new protest called by a coalition of civic rights groups against the cost of key services in the country. After a rally outside the Parliament, the protestors marched to Nelson Mandela Square, near the presidency, where they handed a petition to two aides of President Mamadou Tandja.