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One Dead in Mali Protests Demanding President Resign

Smoke rises as supporters of Imam Mahmoud Dicko and other opposition politicians protest after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita rejected concessions, aimed at resolving a monthslong political standoff, in Bamako, Mali, July 10, 2020.

Protesters in Mali’s capital calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita clashed with authorities Friday as they tried to occupy key government buildings and blocked main roads. At least one person was reported killed.

Mali state television went off the air soon after the protesters gathered outside state broadcaster ORTM.

Video taken in Bamako by VOA’s Bambara service showed a crowd estimated at tens of thousands of demonstrators assembled outside the national assembly building, demanding that Keita step down.

National guardsmen reportedly fired tear gas at protesters throwing rocks at the parliament building. Protesters were seen building barricades with burning tires to block a main road.

This was the third mass protest in Bamako in the past two months.

Keita, in power since 2013, has come under harsh criticism for failing to end a long-running jihadist insurgency and improve the African country’s economic woes.

Ousmane Diallo, a researcher for Francophone West Africa at Amnesty International, told VOA this week that many Malians also are angry about alleged fraud in recent legislative elections and general poor governance.

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