Thousands of Malians protested in the capital city Bamako to demand Keita’s resignation over long-running security issues, economic woes and perceived government corruption in the fragile West African state.
The rally was organised by an opposition coalition and is the third such demonstration in two months – significantly escalating pressure on the embattled leader.
Led by influential scholar Mahmoud Dicko, the so-called June 5 movement is channelling deep-seated frustrations in the country.
The protest on Friday descended into chaos and the country’s state television went off the air soon after a crowd of protesters gathered outside state broadcaster ORTM.
According to VOA, protesters were seen building barricades with burning tires to block a main road.
Groups of protesters were also seen trying to take over two main bridges in the city, leading to battles with the police.
Keita, in power since 2013, has come under harsh criticism for failing to end a long-running jihadist insurgency and improve the African country’s economic woes.
The country has been struggling to contain a surge in armed violence that first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes.
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