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2020 Malian protests

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2020 Malian protests
Part of the Mali War
Date5 June – 19 August 2020
Caused by
Resulted in
  • Protesters and dissidents of the government
  • 5 June movement
  • Opposition parties

Mali National Committee for the Salvation of the People[1]

Lead figures
Deaths and injuries
Death(s)at least 11

Protests in Mali began on 5 June 2020 when protesters gathered in the streets of Bamako, calling for Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resign as president of Mali. The protests ended after a coup d'état on 18 August 2020. Both the president and prime minister of Mali were detained that afternoon, and in the evening they announced their resignations.[2][3][4][5][6]



Numerous factors led to the formation of the 5 June Movement and the August coup d’etat.

Tensions had been seething ever since irregularities were reported during the 2018 Malian presidential election.[7] The on-going Mali War in the Tuareg-controlled northern region intensified the situation. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports have documented army abuses against civilians in the central Mopti and Segou regions,[8] dozens of attacks by armed groups in 2019 that resulted in 456 civilian deaths and hundreds of injuries.[9] Another twelve people were killed due to dissident Fulani in Mopti attacks in April.[10]

Dissidents also questioned the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first two cases were reported on 25 March 2020,[11] and by the end of May, there were 1,265 cases and 77 deaths.[12]

The First round of the 2020 elections[edit]

After repeated postponements,[13][14][15] the first round of the 2020 Parliamentary election was finally held on 29 March 2020. Opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé and members of his electoral team were kidnapped by jihadists three days before the election.[16] He was released on 6 October.[17] Polling stations were ransacked, village leaders were kidnapped, and a roadside bomb killed nine people including three soldiers on election day, 29 March.[18] Voter turnout was only 12% in Bamako.[19]

The Second round of the 2020 elections[edit]

At least 25 soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base in the northern town of Bamba, Gao Region, on 6 April,[20] and concerns about violence dominated the second round of the elections.[7]

Incidents on 19 April prevented some people from casting votes, and on 30 April the Constitutional Court overturned the results in 31 districts, giving Rally for Mali, which is led by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, ten more seats than originally expected.[7] Opposition parties led by Iman Mahmoud Dicko established the Mouvement du 5 Juin - Rassemblement des forces patriotiques [fr] (English: 5 June Movement - Rally of Patriotic Forces) on 30 May, and thousands took to the streets in protest on 5 June.[7]

French forces fought the Battle of Talahandak, killing Abdelmalek Droukdel of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb near Tessalit, Kidal Region, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Mali-Algeria border.[21]

Boubou Cisse was reappointed Prime Minister on 11 June, when he was instructed to form a new government.[7]

Tens of thousands of Malians protested again on 19 June, demanding the resignation of President Keïta.[22]

On 20 June, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for new elections to be held.[22]

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and Imam Mahmoud Dicko met on 5 July,[23] but the opposition continued to call for civil disobedience to force Keïta's resignation and the dissolution of Parliament.[7]

Protests turned violent on 10 July.[7] For the next three days, protesters in Bamako clashed with security forces,[24] and security forces reportedly fired live rounds at the protesters, killing at least 11 and injuring 124.[25]

On 23 July, Presidents Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Alassane Ouattara (Côte d'Ivoire), and Macky Sall (Senegal) arrived in Bamako to meet with President Keïta and opposition leaders after a failed ECOWAS mediation mission.[26]

On 27 July, ECOWAS called for the creation of a unity government and warned of sanctions.[7]

Nine new judges, said to be Keïta supporters, were appointed to the Constitutional Court on 10 August, in response to ECOWAS' demands for reform.[7]

Thousands gathered in Independence Square in Bamako on 11 August, where they were met with tear gas and water cannons.[27]

The opposition announced daily protests starting 17 August.[7]

Coup d’etat[edit]

Mutinying soldiers arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé after taking over a military camp near Bamako on the morning of 18 August.[28]

Early in the morning of 19 August, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation and dissolved parliament.[29] Mahmoud Dicko announced that he was leaving politics.[30] Colonel Assimi Goïta is appointed to head the new government, the Comité national pour le salut du peuple (in French) (National Committee for the Salvation of the People, CNSP).[31][32]


  1. ^ a b "Mali Coup Soldiers Take to Airwaves, Promise Elections". The New York Times. Associated Press. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  2. ^ Maclean, Ruth (16 July 2020). "Anger at Mali's President Rises After Security Forces Kill Protesters". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Mali PM apologises for security force 'excesses' during protests". Reuters. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Mali opposition leaders freed after days of anti-gov't protests". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Calls for calm as Mali gov't criticised for response to protests". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Mali president dissolves top court amid unrest". BBC News. 12 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mali crisis: From disputed election to president’s resignation Al Jazeera, 18 August 2020, retrieved 12 September 2020
  8. ^ Mali: Unchecked Abuses in Military Operations Human Rights Watch, 8 September 2017
  9. ^ Mali: Militias, Armed Islamists Ravage Central Mali HRW, 10 February 2020
  10. ^ Suspected Fulani attack kills at least a dozen in central Mali France 24, 24 April 2020, retrieved 12 September 2020
  11. ^ Mali reports first 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Xinhua News, 25 March 2020, retrieved 12 September 2020
  12. ^ "Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation report 133" (PDF). World Health Organization. 1 June 2020. p. 6. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  13. ^ Mali: les élections législatives reportées d'un mois Le Figuero and AFP, 13 September 2018
  14. ^ Mali: Legislative elections postponed to June 2019 Gardaworld News Alerts, 16 October 2018
  15. ^ Mali : adoption d’un projet de loi prolongeant le mandat des députés jusqu’en 2020 Jeune Afrique, 8 June 2018
  16. ^ Mali opposition leader taken hostage with six others: party Reuters, 26 March 2020, retrieved 12 September 2020
  17. ^ Kidnapped Mali politician and French aid worker freed The Guardian, 7 October 2020, retrieved 28 October 2020
  18. ^ "Malian parliamentary elections marred by kidnappings, attacks". Al Jazeera. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Elections Continue in Mali Despite Virus, Violence Fears". Voice of America News. 19 April 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Dozens of Malian soldiers killed in attack on military base". Al Jazeera. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Al-Qaeda's North African commander killed, France says". Evening Standard. Reuters. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  22. ^ a b Diallo, Tiemoko; McAllister, Edward (20 June 2020). Fincher, Christina; Harrison, Mike (eds.). "West African bloc urges Mali to re-run disputed elections amid mass protests". Reuters. Archived from the original on 21 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Mali: President Keita meets protest leader Mahmoud Dicko". Al Jazeera English. A video posted on the presidency's Twitter account showed the meeting between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Mahmoud Dicko, an imam and leading figure of the so-called June 5 movement, in the capital, Bamako, on Saturday.
  24. ^ "Anti-gov't protests resume in Mali after weeks-long pause". Al Jazeera. 11 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Calls for calm as Mali gov't criticised for response to protests". Al Jazeera English. 13 July 2020. Bloody protests broke out in the capital, Bamako, on Friday and Saturday, with reports saying security forces fired live rounds during clashes with demonstrators, some of whom had occupied state buildings. [...] A senior official at an emergency department of a major hospital in Bamako was quoted by AFP news agency as saying 11 people died and 124 were injured since Friday.
  26. ^ Mbah, Fidelis. "West African leaders on high-stakes mission to end Mali standoff". Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Mali police use tear gas to disperse anti-gov't protesters". Al Jazeera. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Soldiers seize Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  29. ^ Mali’s president announces resignation after soldiers mutiny AP News
  30. ^ "After meeting Mali mutineers, protest leader Dicko to step back from politics". Reuters. Reuters. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  31. ^ "El coronel Assimi Goita, designado nuevo hombre fuerte de Mali tras el golpe". www.efe.com (in Spanish). EFE. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  32. ^ Postmaster (23 August 2020). "Qui est Assimi Goïta, le chef de la junte au Mali – MALI CANAL" (in French). MaliCanal. Retrieved 12 September 2020.