A peaceful march organized by political opposition groups is scheduled to take place in Bamako on Saturday, August 11, one day before the presidential run-off vote, slated for Sunday, August 12. Participants in Saturday's march are expected to gather at Place de la Liberté and proceed to Bourse du Travail. The demonstration has been organized to denounce alleged electoral fraud and to call for a fair and credible electoral process. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected along the march route, and outbreaks of violence cannot be ruled out.
Out of a total of 24 candidates who participated in the first round of voting on July 29, incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (in office since 2013) and opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé emerged as the two main contenders. Some violence was reported at polling stations in the country's northern and central regions despite heavy security deployments nationwide, and there are concerns that Sunday's run-off vote may experience similar difficulties (including violence, alleged intimidation, and electoral fraud).
Many of Mali's security concerns are due to the presence of armed extremist groups, notably in the country's northern and central regions. These areas remain unstable despite the presence of MINUSMA, one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world, and a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds.
Individuals in Mali are advised to monitor the situation and avoid all political events and large public gatherings due to significant security concerns (e.g. unrest, risk of terrorist attack). The security environment in Mali remains complex, particularly in the north and central regions. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.