Mali: Officials Violently Respond to Protests
In response to the death of at least one protestor, the government of Mali’s decision to temporarily block social media applications in the capital city of Bamako, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We strongly condemn authorities’ excessive use of violence against protestors in Bamako and throughout Mali,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The government should respect citizens’ constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and have unimpeded access to information.”
The most recent protests in Mali began after the August 15 arrest of radio host Mohamed Youssouf Bathily (commonly known as “Ras Bath”) for statements made against influential religious leaders and the Malian government. In July 2016, there were at least two instances when the government violently responded to protests, one of which resulted in the death of four demonstrators in Gao.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.