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Security forces in Mali brutally break up demonstration

Malian police forces secure the area during the National Day military parade in Bamako, 22 September 2018
Malian police forces secure the area during the National Day military parade in Bamako, 22 September 2018

Xaume Olleros/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 19 November 2018.

Security forces in Mali have violently dispersed and attacked a group of opposition party supporters who were demonstrating in the capital, Bamako.

The opposition organised the march on November 16, 2018 to protest against what they considered as poor governance, high cost of living and the planned extension of the mandate of the deputies to the National Assembly. The governor of Bamako had, however, banned the demonstration over security concerns.

"The country is going through a fragile situation," read a release issued by the governor ahead of the march.

No sooner had the thousands of people gathered at Bourse de Travail, the venue of the demonstration, than the security forces pounced on them, firing tear gas. The violent intervention saw several demonstrators injured, including a member of parliament, Amadou Araba Doumbia.

"To demonstrate in Mali, we do not need permission, but just to inform the authorities to supervise the event," a statement by the participating opposition parties said.

The statement signed by Soumaila Cise, the leader of the main opposition party, also condemned the violent repression by the police.

"We condemn with the last energy the barbaric repression planned by the highest officials of the regime," the statement added.

The MFWA also condemns the prohibition of the march as a violation of a fundamental right conferred by the constitution of Mali and the many regional and international protocols the country has ratified on civil and political rights.

The MFWA appeals to Mali's authorities to desist from using insubstantial excuses to curtail the enjoyment of the rights to peaceful demonstrations and from unleashing violence on demonstrators.

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