On Friday, September 21, police officers dispersed an unauthorized protest by opposition supporters in Bamako. According to local sources, security forces fired tear gas at the protesters after clashed broke out between the police officers and demonstrators in the Commune IV area of the city. The protest had been organized by members of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) opposition party, in support of defeated opposition presidential candidate Soumaïla Cissé. Further associated protests are possible in the coming days and weeks. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected near any demonstration site.
Despite Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta's confirmed reelection by the Supreme and Constitutional courts, Cissé and his supporters continue to deny his reelection and claim fraudulent results in the first and second rounds of the presidential election, respectively held on July 29 and August 12. Election observers have judged the election to have been fair overall, despite some irregularities and low voter turnout (34.4 percent). Keïta was inaugurated on September 4; a related demonstration held by the opposition on the same day attracted thousands of supporters though no incidents were reported. Similar well-attended gatherings also took place in Ségou, Sikasso, and Nioro (Kayes region) and in Bamako on September 1.
Travelers in Mali and specifically in Bamako are advised to closely monitor the situation and avoid all gatherings due to the risk of clashes between protesters and the security forces. 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.
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