At the call of imams and civic associations on April 5, thousands of protesters marched in Bamako, the capital of Mali, to demand the end of violence between ethnic communities in central Mali, the removal of French troops, which have been in Mali since 2013 fighting “Islamic extremists,” and aid from Russia.
The cops gave the number of marchers at 30,000, while organizers claimed 50,000. (Agence France Presse, April 5)
The same day, a similar demonstration took place at Nioro du Sahel in northwest Mali. Nioro is a small city of 70,000 people near the Mauritanian border.
The U.S. AFRICOM command has a cooperation agreement with the Malian armed forces.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, called IBK, was criticized for his “incompetent administration” by rally speakers. When the protesters attempted to march to the home of Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga and started throwing rocks, the cops broke up the march with tear gas.
Mali is a poor, landlocked country on the southwest border of the Sahara. Historically its cities were crossroads between West and North Africa.