Eleven people were killed in violent demonstrations on Friday and Saturday in Mali, with one political party accusing the government of deploying anti-terrorism forces to the country’s streets.
On Sunday, protesters looted a building belonging to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s RPM party after mourners returned from burying several of those who were killed during the protests. Africa News reports that the incident at the ruling party’s headquarters has highlighted tensions that exist in the country. Demonstrators had also occupied the national broadcaster in Bamako, halting the broadcast.
Just hours earlier, Keita had announced he had dissolved the constitutional court, thus meeting a key demand of the opposition June 5 Movement. He had also agreed to consider re-holding the disputed legislative elections. Protestors, however, also want the National Assembly dissolved, a move Keita hasn’t yet endorsed.
Keita said, “I would like, once again, to reassure our people of my willingness to continue the dialogue and reiterate my readiness to take all measures in my power to calm the situation.” The president said, “We must go beyond ourselves and only consider Mali.”
While the opposition movement’s leaders are no longer calling for Keita’s resignation, Africa News reports that the unrest at the weekend indicates deep dissatisfaction with his rule. Tensions began in late April after several dozen candidates disputed the official results issued by Mali’s constitutional court.
Meanwhile, internet rights group, NetBlocks reported that social media and messaging apps had been partially blocked in Mali on Friday amid mass protests. Twitter, Facebook and messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger were affected. Some users are currently still experiencing a block. Africa News reports that other online services and websites continue to function normally, but only on restricted networks.
Umm Muhammed Umar