Coinciding with French president, Nicolas Sarkozy's trip to Niger the weekend of March 28, two associations have filed a civil suit against Areva and one of its officials. Boutali Tchiwerine and his association, Alhak-n-Akal, along with the German group, Menschenrechte 3000 EV, have asked that Areva representative, Thierry d'Arbonneau, and the company be asked to answer to comments made by d'Arbonneau last October when he suggested the French government helped "put down the Touareg rebellion [in Niger], these men in blue who make men dream and women's hearts break, but who are nothing but an illusion". The groups want Areva, represented by its CEO, Anne Lauvergeon, and d'Arbonneau charged with inciting hatred and violence and for discriminating against the Touareg based on their belonging to a specific ethnicity, race, religion or nation. Furthermore, to deny the existence of the Touareg denies them all rights. For further reading (in French), see the summons, the backgrounder and the press release.
The same week, the French anti-nuclear network, Sortir du Nucleaire, held a press conference to denounce Sarkozy's trip to Niger which marked the signing by the French president of the agreement to award Areva a