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Thousands march to back Mali’s military leaders

A crowd of people cheer Malian army soldiers at the

A crowd of people cheer Malian army soldiers at the Independence Square after a mutiny, in Bamako, Mali August 18, 2020. Picture taken August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Moussa Kalapo

Thousands of Malians have taken to the streets of the capital, Bamako, to rally behind the president of the transition, Col Assimi Goïta, and to demonstrate against the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

The military government called for the population to mobilise throughout the country and in the diaspora, to prove the popularity of Col Assimi’s regime.

The sanctions, which include the closure of Mali’s borders and a trade embargo, came after the military government announced a long delay to the elections originally planned for February.

Many Malians also expressed their views on social media, accusing Ecowas of being the instrument of foreign powers and an outdated club of leaders cut off from the people.

Friday’s demonstration brought together several civil society organisations, political parties, and teachers’ unions hostile to Ecowas’ position.

The United Nations General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, asked Mali to present an acceptable electoral agenda on the eve of the protest.

He also promised that the sanctions would be progressively lifted once this is done by the Malian government.

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