Opponents of power in Mali gathered in Bamako on Tuesday to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, despite calls on the international community to promote dialogue.
Anger does not go away in Mali. Thousands of people demonstrated again on Tuesday, August 11, in Bamako to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK), despite calls for a negotiated solution to the crisis, which has shaken the country since June. The calls for dialogue between the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the rain did not deter opponents, who gathered to the sound of vuvuzelas in Independence Square, in the center of the capital Mali.
Two months after the start of the demonstrations, the slogan remains the same: “Our goal is for IBK and its regime to resign”, according to Issa Kaou Djim, the platform’s coordinator (CMAS) who supports Imam Mahmoud Dicko, the leading figure in the protest movement.
The demonstrated signs, such as “IBK clears”, targeted the president in power since 2013, but also his prime minister Boubou Cissé, who was appointed in June. This is the first demonstration against power since July 21, when the opposition announced a gun violence on the Muslim weekend of Eid al-Adha.
Ten days earlier, a demonstration called on by the opposition had degenerated into a weekend of deadly unrest, the most serious in Bamako since the 2012 coup. pandemic.
The current crisis, which makes the international community fear that Mali is sinking into chaos, arose in early June, following the annulment of some thirty legislative results in March-April by the Constitutional Court, including members, has since been replaced.
>> See also:Mali and chaos?
The protest is led by the Mouvement du 5 Juin-Rassemblement des powers patriotiques (M5-RFP), a motley coalition of religious leaders, political leaders and members of civil society. This alliance, which sometimes struggles to speak with one voice, replaced a traditional opposition that became lifeless through the March abduction of its leader, Soumaïla Cissé, who is still held by suspected jihadists. Protesters demanded his release on Tuesday.
The call to demonstrate was upheld by the M5 despite calls for restraint from ECOWAS, which advocated a constitution of a national entity – in which the opposition has so far refused to participate – while excluding a forced resignation of President Keita.
The main mediator of the West African organization, the former Nigerian head of state Goodluck Jonathan, returned to Mali on Monday. “I urge the organizers of the demonstrations to show restraint. The whole international community knows that there are difficulties in Mali. We are trying to help the Malian people solve them,” he said at the meeting. a press conference on Monday night.
Goodluck Jonathan said the country was “making progress” with “the establishment of the Constitutional Court”, before demanding “to remain strict in the context of dialogue”.
While the political crisis continues in Bamako, violence continues in the rest of the country, including large regions, in the center and in the north, and avoids state control despite the presence of the UN, French and West Africans.
Central Mali has been caught in a whirlwind of violence since the rise of a jihadist group led by Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa, who joined the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, affiliated with al-Qaeda, since it was created in 2017.