Security forces detained two opposition coalition leaders and raided its headquarters on Saturday, July 11, following violent anti-government protests in Bamako the previous day. An opposition spokesperson stated that the two leaders of the June 5 Movement were arrested on Saturday and that security forces turned up to the house of another leader but were unable to find them. Another leader of the protests was arrested on Friday, July 10. President Boubacar Keïta attempted to pacify the situation on Saturday by announcing the dissolution of the constitutional court, which was the center of a legal controversy over the results for the parliamentary elections in March. However, he also stated that violence such as that witnessed during Friday's protests was unacceptable and security forces would continue to clamp down on any further unrest. Protesters continued to block roads on Saturday, although numbers were significantly lower than on Friday.
Further unrest and associated disruption to business and transport are expected over the near term.
Anti-government protests have been reported across the country, notably in Bamako, Sikasso, Bougouni, Kati, Yanfolila, Mopti, and Nioro since May. The legislative elections in March gave a majority to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta with the ruling Rassemblement pour le Mali (RPM) party winning 51 out of the 147 seats at the National Assembly. According to protesters, the results released on April 30 by the Constitutional Court do not match initial results released by the Ministry of the Territorial Administration, in which the ruling party won 43 seats.
On Friday, July 10, thousands gathered across several districts of Bamako as part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign by the opposition coalition. Police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators as they converged on parliament and the national television station. At least four people were killed and many others wounded during the unrest, as well as vehicles and property vandalized.
Those in Mali are advised to keep abreast of the situation and sociopolitical climate and avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of exposure to potential crowd disturbances and incidental violence.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel. Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, travelers are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and high-profile places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to security forces.
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