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Mali: Hundreds of people demonstrate their support for the army and the junta

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Published on: 05/13/2022 – 20:31 Several hundred Malians gathered in Bamako on Friday to support the junta, the army and military cooperation with the Russians, denounced by Westerners, noted journalists from the AFP. “Yes to cooperation with Moscow, yes to the junta and the Malian army”: this is the message chanted by several hundred Malians brandishing placards, banners and Russian flags during a demonstration held on Friday May 13 in Bamako, according to AFP journalists present on the spot. The various organizations which had called for a meeting in the Place de l’Indépendance also had their sights set, for some, on the West African sanctions still in force against Mali and the presence on Malian territory of thousands of peacekeepers from the UN mission (Minusma) whose mandate is subject to renewal in June.”Down with France, Minusma, and ECOWAS”In the middle of the afternoon, the mobilization was very far from the mass demonstration organized on January 14 against West African sanctions. The military-dominated authorities who took power in August 2020 readily invoke this demonstration as proof of their legitimacy. then among the main demands of the protesters. France and its European allies have since announced their withdrawal after months of diplomatic degradation. The Russians, mercenaries of the private company Wagner according to Westerners or instructors deployed by virtue of legitimate cooperation between States according to the Malian authorities, have on the contrary made themselves more and more present. Among the Russian flags waved by the demonstrators was deployed a banner “Down with France, down with Minusma, down with ECOWAS”, the Economic Community of West African States which is pressuring the colonels to return power to civilians more quickly than ‘they don’t hear it. “France is gone” The demonstrators mainly rallied around their army and against West African sanctions. “Because today the army is our hope, and (even) our only hope,” said Bakary Diarra, 37 and a member of a youth organization. “Yes, France is gone. Now, what can Mali do, that’s also what it’s all about,” said Awa Camara, of the League of Muslims. “We hope that God will show the path of wisdom to ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community so that Mali can emerge from this situation,” said Gabriel Coulibaly, a member of a Christian youth organization. In the meantime, “we are Malians, we support the army”. The authorities are claiming a rise in power that is difficult to verify against the jihadists who have been raging in the country since 2013. The country is also plunged into a deep economic crisis, including the embargo on commercial and financial transactions imposed by ECOWAS worsens the fallout. With AFP

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