16 July 2017

Malians March Against Constitution Referendum

Photo: Facebook
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta investi à la présidence au Mali

Thousands of Malians have taken to the streets to protest against a planned referendum on constitutional changes that would give extra powers to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, create new regions and recognise the Tuareg's ethnic homeland.

The government of Mali has delayed the vote, which was originally planned for last week, but still plans to go ahead with it this year.

Protesters at Sunday's march in Bamako, the capital, held up placards saying "no" to the constitution, with some brandishing red cards and calling on the president to resign.

Activists are unsettled by provisions that would enable the president to nominate a quarter of the Senate and remove the prime minister at will.

Malians have become increasingly disillusioned with Keita's government, as the security situation has worsened significantly over the past year and is spreading beyond the desert north to the south and centre, including Bamako.

Presidential elections are scheduled for late 2018, although Keita has not said whether or not he will run.

The constitutional changes concerning new regions are supposed to happen as part of a 2015 peace deal aiming to end the separatist Tuareg movement. It will also recognise their claims to a degree of autonomy by officially labelling the northern desert regions by their Tuareg name, Azawad.

Some Malians are angered about concessions to the fighters, whose 2012 uprising enabled allied armed groups to take over parts of the north and use them as a launch pad for regional attacks. French forces intervened and scattered the armed groups the following year.

The peace deal has so far failed to quell unrest in the north, where rival pro and anti-government factions are locked in a violent power struggle.


Africans Live A Decade Longer Than in 1990, But...

The level of human development in Sub-Saharan Africa, judged by how long people live for, how well they are educated and… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Al Jazeera. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.