UN calls for calm in Mali opposition protest

The opposition said some 30 people were hospitalised after security forces fired "live ammunition" at protesters on Saturday.

UN calls for calm in Mali opposition protest

World Bulletin / News Desk

The UN has called for calm in Mali after dozens of people were hurt during banned opposition protests in Bamako, sparking calls for the prime minister to resign two months ahead of a presidential election.

The government rejected the claims outright.

"It is absolutely false to say that shots were fired using live ammunition," a source close to the security ministry told AFP.

Earlier Sunday, the ministry said the security forces were bound by three words -- "professionalism, courtesy and firmness" and that the police had acted to maintain public order.

It denounced the protestors for having injured a policeman in the head.

A "transparency" rally outside the party headquarters of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita attracted several hundred people.

Police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators with batons, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. Clashes also took place in other locations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who visited Mali last week, called late Saturday for "calm and restraint by all parties".

"(He) calls on the Malian government to ensure the protection of fundamental human rights and freedom of expression to peaceful demonstrations, including in the context of the ongoing state of emergency," a UN statement said.

Mali is one of the so-called "G5 Sahel" states -- along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger -- which have launched joint operations against jihadist groups.

Most protests are banned as the nation has lived under a near-constant state of emergency since an attack on a hotel in Bamako in November 2015 left 20 people dead.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2018, 17:06