News   /   More

Three dead, several injured in protest over detained activist

Malians demonstrate in front of a court in support of young radio presenter Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, who was arrested two days earlier, in the capital, Bamako, August 17, 2016.

Clashes between police and protesters in Mali over the arrest of an anti-government activist have left at least three people dead and several others wounded.

The violence erupted on Wednesday as Malian police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who had flocked to the streets in the country’s capital of Bamako to show their support for Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, a government critic and a popular radio host.

Medical sources in Mali confirmed the death of one person, who was reportedly a passerby who was shot and killed walking through the protest rallies in the capital. Other sources put the number of fatalities at three.

Eleven people were also hurt in the skirmishes, two of them seriously, hospital sources said.

Police had arrested Bathily, nicknamed Rasbath, two days earlier on the charges of breaking public morality rules due to his polemical presence on local radio and his frequent attacks on the policies of the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Malians walk by the remains of the barricades built by protestors on the streets during a protest over the arrest of an anti-government activist, in Bamako, Mali, August 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Condemning police brutality against the protesters, three rights groups in Mali said in a joint statement, “Our organizations condemn the excessive use of lethal arms to maintain order and call on the authorities to identify and punish those responsible.”

The Wednesday protest was also fueled by public discontent in the West African country over corruption, unemployment, the costs of living and insecurity blamed on years-long violence over ethnic divisions and al-Qaeda-linked militancy in the north.

In 2012, ethnic Tuareg rebel groups seized control of areas in northern Mali, which they call Azawad. However, al-Qaeda-linked militants took control of the north shortly afterwards. France then intervened in its former colony militarily under the pretext of driving the al-Qaeda militants out of the areas they had captured.

Tuareg-led rebels signed a landmark peace deal with the government in June 2015; however, the peace accord has been ineffective as the rebel groups and other militants continue to launch sporadic attacks against security forces from desert hideouts.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku