Malians stage historic protest, demand Keita's resignation

Malians stage historic protest, demand Keita's resignation

Malians have organized a protest to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. 

The protest, which was held on Friday June 19, 2020, was aimed at expressing grievances over the incessant attacks which have killed thousands of soldiers and civilians since 2016. 

Mahmoud Dicko, one of the prominent religious leaders in the country, led the Friday protest. 

The pace of political reforms, a flagging economy and a widely shared perception of government corruption have also fed anti-Keita sentiment. 

The protests followed a similar rally on June 5 organised by a newly-formed coalition of opposition groups. prompting a coalition of religious leaders and civil society figures to call the protests the "Movement of June 5 - Rally of Patriotic Forces".

Mali protesters on Friday decried the president's failure to curtail the growing conflict and violence in the country. They stressed that that he has failed to learn his lesson. 

One of the protesters, Nicolas Haque, wrote on his Twitter, "What a crowd in Bamako... despite concessions made by Mali’s president! 

"The protest continues with some threatening to match to the presidential palace." 

"During Friday's demonstration, an imam led gatherers in a prayer in a central city square, followed by protesters singing the national anthem and blowing vuvuzela horns. Many displayed placards bearing anti-government slogans," he added.  

Mamadou Diakite, a 42-year-old teacher who protested on Friday, stated that Keita had to step down. 

"We are here for the final victory, there is no negotiation possible," he said. 

The situation in Mali remains a source of worry to the country's neighbors.

Keita, 75, has been pushed to make several concessions in recent days in response to mounting criticism, such as raising the salaries of public teachers after a long-running pay dispute.

He also pledged to enact many reforms, including forming a new unity government that would include opposition figures.