Thousands protest at the anti-Mali government rally



Thousands rallied in Mali's capital, Bamako, on Friday demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Babkar Keita over the country's new revival opposition call.


The 75-year-old president failed to instigate a jihadist insurgency that erupted in northern Mali in 2012 and spread to the fragile center of the West African state.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, and millions have fled their homes.

The tremendous pace of political reform, the flagging economy and the widespread shared awareness of government corruption have fueled anti-Kita ideology.

On Friday, an imam led thousands of protesters to prayer at a crossroads in the central city.

The protesters then sang the national anthem and vaguely horned it with several tugging placards with anti-government slogans.

The newly formed alliance of opposition groups held a similar rally on June 5.

The alliance has since adopted the name "June 5 Movement - Patriotic Forces Rally."

According to religious elders and civil society figures, the coalition is deeply concerned about slow progress and continued bloodshed.

Its chief is an imam and Islamic fundamentalist Mahmoud Diko, a rising political star in a war-torn country.

The June 5 movement protested on Friday, even though Keita pledged Tuesday to form a new unity government consisting of opposition figures.

- 'He understands' -

Keita was elected President of the Garib Sahel Nation with a population of approximately 19 million in 2013 and won a second five-year term in 2018.

He has been prompted to make several concessions in recent days in response to rising criticism of government teachers' salaries on Tuesday after a long-running pay dispute.

The president, who proposed to form a united government, extended the olive branch for political protest on Tuesday.

But his attempts to outdo his opponents fall on deaf ears.

Dimako had previously told reporters in Bamako that the protests would go ahead on Friday.

"He hasn't learned his lesson. He doesn't listen to people," he said. "But this time he understands".

During Friday's protest, 42-year-old teacher Mamadou Dikit told AFP that Keita had to step down.

We are here for the ultimate victory, no negotiation is possible.

The fast-growing political divide in Mali is worrying about the country's neighbors.

A regional delegation of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) will meet with the Prime Minister of Mali on Thursday and Friday to discuss opposition figures in Bamako.

It called for the establishment of a “consensus government of national unity”.

The delegation said the decision by the Constitutional Court in late April was to blame for socio-political tension in the country.

The court overturned 30 election results in March and April, including the third beneficiary of the presidential party.

The delegation urged the government to review the results and conduct the latest partial elections in the respective districts.

Four of the nine members of the Constitutional Court filed their resignations on Friday, court sources said.

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