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Demonstration in the Malian capital Bamako against sanctions

Thousands of people have demonstrated in the Malian capital Bamako against sanctions imposed by neighboring countries on the transitional military government for trying to extend its hold on power.

People poured into Independence Square on Friday in Bamako, holding up signs saying “Down with ECOWAS” and “Down with France”. 

The rally was organised by the military-led government.

“I am here to say that Mali is first for Malians, it’s not ECOWAS or France who are going to make decisions in our place,” said Adama Cisse, a 40-year-old teacher attending the protest.

The Economic Community of West African States agreed a raft of restrictions on Sunday against Mali, where a military junta seized power in a 2020 coup.

The coup leaders had initially agreed to hold elections this February, before revising that and proposing a new date of December 2025.

The sanctions over the delay have left the landlocked country isolated as neighbors have cancelled flights, closed borders and cut off its access to regional financial markets.

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