Mon, 26 Oct 2020

Police in Mali's capital, Bamako, clashed with protesters early Wednesday, following a day of protests calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down, despite international mediation efforts to resolve the political crisis.

Protests led by an opposition coalition named M5-RFP have raged since June, caused by doubts about local election results and perceived government corruption and incompetence.

Police arrived shortly after dawn Wednesday using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who had spent the night in Independence Square in the capital. A spokesman for the government was not available for comment.

Thousands had marched Tuesday in the capitol as talks mediated by leaders from the Economic Community of West Africa West African States stalled.

Tensions escalated in July when police shot and killed at least 11 demonstrators.

Regional powers are worried that prolonged unrest could derail the fight against Islamist extremists in the region, many of whom are based in Mali. Their presence has rendered large areas of the center and north of Mali ungovernable.

Keita has attempted to make concessions to appease protesters, following ECOWAS' suggestions and appointing new judges to the nation's Constitutional Court. But most of the opposition continues calling for him to step down.

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