, BAMAKO, Aug 6 – Malian police broke up a protest march in the capital on Monday, firing teargas at demonstrators demanding the resignation of interim President Dioncounda Traore, an AFP journalist witnessed.
The march organised by the civil society group Yere Wolo Ton (The Dignified Sons in the Bambara language) was broken up near the presidential palace.
Protesters carried banners reading: “Resign Dioncounda Traore!” and “Keep your promise to resign.”
“Before he left to France, the president told us he was going to resign. Now he is back and we were marching to tell him to respect his word,” said Yere Wolo Ton leader Boubacar Bore.
Traore returned to Bamako on July 27 after two months recovering in Paris from a brutal attack by protesters who were opposed to him being appointed as interim president.
Yere Wolo Ton was implicated in organising that protest, during which a group stormed Traore’s office to attack him, and members such as Bore are due to appear in court on Tuesday.
Upon his return, Traore announced the formation of new transition bodies to rein in the various crises in his country, announcing he would take over negotiations to form a unity government as demanded by west African mediators.
Traore’s regime took over from a junta which seized power on March 22. The coup allowed extremists linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to seize the country’s north, an area larger than France where they are enforcing sharia law.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has 3,300 standby troops ready to be sent to Mali, but is awaiting a formal request from Bamako and a mandate from the UN Security Council.