Protests against president keita in mali: bamako seething

Several people were injured during a protest in Mali’s capital. Opposition voices say the dialogue with the government has long since failed.

Demanding the resignation of President Keita: There were already demonstrations in Bamako in June Photo: Baba Ahmed

The third mass protest in five weeks against Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita once again spun out of control in Mali’s capital Bamoko on Friday, July 10. Police fired shots and used tear gas. At least one person was killed and around 20 protesters were injured. The National Assembly and the state television ORTM were occupied in the meantime. For a short time, there was no signal. The two bridges over the Niger River in the center of Bamako also stopped working.

Several organizers of the M5 movement – including parts of civil society and the political opposition, as well as supporters of the Movement Coordination Center, associations and sympathizers of Imam Mahmoud Dicko (CMAS) – were also arrested in the evening.

The situation in the city remains tense, observers and journalists continue to tweet at noon on Saturday, July 11. In the early afternoon, it is reported that in the Magnambougou Faso Kanu district, where Dicko’s union has its headquarters, more and more armed soldiers are advancing.

Little trust in the government

The aim of many demonstrators is to force President Keita, who has been in power since 2013, to resign or at least to introduce far-reaching reforms and end the socio-political crisis. Attacks by various terrorist groups, local riots and massacres by the army have killed 2552 people in the past twelve months. This is according to ACLED, a U.S. NGO that collects data on conflicts worldwide. Despite various international missions to stabilize the country, violence continues to spread southward. Hardly anyone has any confidence in the government anymore.

Keita was still speaking out on the evening of Friday, July 10, and announced his intention to stabilize the situation and continue the dialogue. In a speech to the nation on Thursday night, he had already stressed that self-defense militias, for example, should be disbanded and agreed institutional reforms implemented in the coming twelve months. In recent weeks, there has been repeated criticism of the parliamentary elections in March and April, in which Keita’s Rally for Mali (RPM) won a good third of the 147 seats.

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