Mali anti-gov’t rally turns violent as national TV goes off air

A large anti-government demonstration in Mali has descended into chaos as protesters tried to occupy buildings including the national assembly, the national broadcasting house and two major bridges, while police fired tear gas to disperse them.

The protest against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, organised by an opposition coalition, is the third such demonstration in two months – significantly escalating pressure on the embattled leader.

Thousands initially gathered in a square in the capital, Bamako, on Friday to demand Keita resigns over the country’s long-running security issues, economic woes and perceived government corruption.

Led by influential scholar Mahmoud Dicko, the so-called June 5 movement is channelling deep-seated frustrations in the war-torn West African state

Keita this week unsuccessfully floated political reforms in a bid to appease opponents, but did not concede to demands from the political opposition to dissolve the parliament and form a transition government.

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