Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Malians protest ECOWAS sanctions

Supporters of Mali’s military government on Friday demonstrated against West African sanctions that have cut the country off from regional trade and finance.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was sentenced this week after coup leaders postponed elections on promises to restore civilian rule by four years.

Mali’s military government called for mass demonstrations against ECOWAS restrictions imposed after a special summit in Accra last Sunday.

ECOWAS said it would give further approval to Mali if elections were not held on the previously agreed date of February 2022. In December, leaders proposed a much longer transition, with the next elections due in 2026.

Because of the new restrictions, which included border closures and blocking shipments of goods, except for essentials like food and medicine, Mali also closed its borders to mutually ECOWAS neighbors.

A protester looks at a crowd with the Malian flag painted on his cheek, during a mass demonstration in Bamako on January 14, 2022, to protest the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS on Mali and the junta.

Much of the country has fallen out of state control since Mali fell into conflict in 2012.

Modibo Drame, a student at the University of Bamako who helped organize the demonstration, says he supports current military leaders for a period of five years or 10 years, as he feels it is the only way for Mali to finally see security. Is.

“We want stability in our country,” he said. “If ECOWAS wants, we can do it together. If they don’t, we accept it – and we don’t live together.”

In addition to Bamako, protesters gathered in major Malian cities such as Gao and Timbuktu, and in smaller towns across the country. Roads around Bamako’s Independence Monument were blocked to traffic, as thousands gathered by 3PM could be seen carrying Malian and Russian flags

Sixty-year-old Abdrahman Fofana, a pharmacist, came to the demonstration to support the military leaders, who he said was the first person in Mali’s history to be able to take a stand against France.

“For us Malian, what do we lack?” Fofana said. “That we are united. We have today thanks to sanctions. We are united today. We will get through this. We are ready, even if it means death.”

Several political and religious organizations have issued statements condemning the sanctions against Mali, including those that have rejected the 2026 election proposal to transition.

Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, a political and economic analyst and director of Mali’s Economic and Social Policy Analysis Research Center, echoed Fofana’s claim that the sanctions have united Malians politically.

“We are Malians first before we are part of the opposition or majority,” Sissoko said. “We know that the primary victims of these sanctions are not the authorities, but the population, who did not ask to be in this position, which is why we see these as sanctions against the population more than as sanctions against the country or There are against it. The current authority. So that partly explains the support, the union, the cohesion around the transitional leaders that we have today.”

Malian President Asimi Goita said during a televised address on 10 January that he was open to talks with ECOWAS to “find consensus”.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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