Nigeria

Mali political crisis: ruling party offices ransacked, social media restricted

Protest rocks Mali after rejection of President Keita’s concessions

Protest rocks Mali after rejection of President Keita’s concessions

Protesters ransacked a building belonging to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s political party on Sunday, underscoring the tensions that remain in Mali, even after the president met one of their top demands.

The latest unrest at a neighbourhood headquarters for Keita’s RPM party came as mourners returned from funerals to bury several of the victims who have died during political demonstrations in recent days, witnesses said.

Only hours earlier, the president had announced in a televised speech that he had dissolved the constitutional court as demanded by the opposition movement and was willing to consider re-doing contested legislative elections.

The movement’s leaders are no longer calling for the resignation of Keita, who has three years left in his final term. But Sunday’s unrest showed there are still elements deeply dissatisfied with his leadership.

Internet rights group, NetBlocks reported late last week that data from its internet observatory confirmed that social media and messaging apps were partially blocked in Mali on Friday 10 July 2020 amid mass protests.

Demonstrators seeking political reforms, some calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s resignation, occupied the national broadcaster in Bamako sending transmissions off the air. Internet restrictions affecting most but not all users have continued to Monday afternoon and the incident is ongoing as of the latest update.

Social media platforms Twitter and Facebook and messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger remained restricted with Mali’s leading cellular operator Orange 10:30 p.m. UTC / local time Friday as tensions peaked and continued as of Monday 13 January 2020, with issues also observed on Malitel and other networks over the weekend.

Affected users are able to regain access via VPN services which circumvent internet censorship by tunnelling to other countries. Listed platforms remain blocked or degraded as of Monday while other online services and websites continue to function normally on restricted networks.

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