The Mouvement du 5 juin - Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques (M5-RFP) have postponed a march in Bamako, initially scheduled for Friday, July 17, citing the risk of violence amid heightened tensions. A spokesman announced that the rally, which was to be held in commemoration of the victims of last week's protests, will be replaced by commemorative ceremonies at places of worship throughout Mali, without giving further details.
Protests in Mali have previously turned violent and resulted in clashes between demonstrators and security forces, the burning of tires, barricading bridges and roads, and security forces using tear gas to disperse crowds.
Associated business and transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence are to be anticipated should demonstrations go ahead.
Security forces arrested and subsequently released several leaders of the June 5 Movement following unrest, which occurred on Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11. Clashes broke out between police and anti-government protesters on Friday, with live ammunition being used to disperse crowds who had marched on parliament and the national television station. Violent unrest mostly subsided by Sunday, July 12, and the movement's leader, Imam Mahmoud Dicko, appealed for calm during a funeral for activists killed during the unrest. At least 11 people were killed and 124 others wounded during the protests and subsequent clashes. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta's has attempted to de-escalate tensions through announcing the dissolution of the constitutional court, which was the center of a legal controversy over the results for the parliamentary elections in March.
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 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.
Individuals in Mali are advised to monitor developments, avoid all gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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