In the early 1990s, Niger saw growing anger towards the military regime in power, not only because of police violence, but also due to its economic and social policies, particularly its first structural adjustment programme. After several months of revolts, the regime fell, giving way to a democratic government in 1991. Under pressure from international financial institutions, the new government quickly embarked on the same economic and social path as the previous one and adopted an adjustment policy, resistance to which had played a fundamental role in its accession to power. The government faced increasing street protests, and was overthrown by the army in January 1996, with most of the population not mobilizing to protect the democratic institutions. This article examines the conflicts of rationales that marked these few years, and shows how, by whom, and to what extent these rationales were opposed in practical terms. It also offers a social history of the adjustments by looking at how they were received by the people. By so doing, it looks back at a moment that has profoundly marked Niger's recent history: in this country, as in others, the adjustments have reconfigured rivalries, produced violence, and left an indelible mark on the political imaginary up to the present day.