Mali: UN Calls for Calm as Dozens Injured In Bamako Protests
The United Nations [UN] Organization called for calm in Mali after dozens of people were hurt during banned opposition protests in Bamako, two months ahead of a presidential election.
Protesters were calling for transparent elections and fair political campaigning in the run-up to the elections - including equal access to public media. Demonstrators, meanwhile, insisted the march was peaceful.
The opposition said some 30 people were hospitalized -- including prominent opposition figure Etienne Fabaka Sissoko who was left "in a coma" -- after security forces fired "live ammunition" at protesters on Saturday.
However, Mali's government rejected the claims outright.
In the same respect, the governor of the capital Bamako banned the march as part of the country's state of emergency, which has been in force since a 2015 attack on a hotel in Bamako left 20 people dead.
Earlier Sunday, the ministry said the security forces were bound by three words -- "professionalism, courtesy and firmness" and that the police had acted to maintain public order.
It denounced the protestors for having injured a policeman in the head.
A "transparency" rally outside the party headquarters of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita attracted several hundred people.
Police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators with batons, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. Clashes also took place in other locations.
For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who visited Mali last week, called late Saturday for "calm and restraint by all parties".
Mali is one of the so-called "G5 Sahel" states -- along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger -- which have launched joint operations against terrorist groups.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team