Protesters call for resignation of Mali President

Protesters call for resignation of Mali President

Thousands of protesters in Mali have gathered in the capital, Bamako, calling for the president to resign.

Led by conservative imam Mahmoud Dicko, a coalition of opposition groups is demanding political and economic reform.

They are seeking the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta because of escalating jihadist and inter-communal violence.

The president had pledged to form a new government with opposition members.

But despite negotiations between the two sides earlier this week, the protest has gone on as planned.

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On Friday, crowds gathered in Bamako’s Independence Square, chanting slogans, blowing plastic trumpets and holding placards with anti-government messages. A letter has also been sent to the president by the opposition groups demanding his resignation.

Mr Dicko led prayers during the rally. Opposition politician Cheick Oumar Sissoko also delivered a speech calling for civil disobedience until Mr Keïta stepped down, according to Reuters news agency.

It follows a similar rally held on 5 June, which was organised by the same coalition. The group have since adopted the name “Movement of 5 June – Rally of Patriotic Forces”.

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Mr Keïta, who is 75 and known as IBK, was first elected president of the west African nation in 2013. He secured a second five-year term in 2018.

But he has come under mounting pressure in recent months due to Mali’s worsening economy, coronavirus, and a teachers’ strike. Political tensions have also arisen from a disputed legislative election in March, and allegations of corruption.

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