Thousands of Malians took to the streets on Saturday July 15, to protest against a planned referendum on constitutional changes that would give extra powers to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, create new regions and recognise the Tuareg’s ethnic homeland.
“We don’t need constitutional changes today, we want the state to liberate the north of Mali, centre of Mali and take into account of the aspirations of the people,” said Abdoulaye Bah a protester.
“Those who are here today, responded to the call of Malians, not to the call of the opposition or of anyone in particular. It is Malians who are here today and what they are saying must be heard,“said Amadou Thiam, protest leader and oppostion member of parliament.
Those who are here today, responded to the call of Malians, not to the call of the opposition or of anyone in particular. It is Malians who are here today and what they are saying must be heard
Some opponents say the constitution will give too much power to the president.
The Minister for Malians Outside Mali rejected this accusation on Thursday July 13 at a meeting for the reach out to local communities in Bamako to sell the constitutional reform.
The referendum on the constitution had been planned for July 9 but the president pushed back the date after the first mass protest in June.
No new date has been set but Keita said at the G5 Sahel security summit in Bamako on July 2 that he would push ahead.
The changes are part of a 2015 peace deal aiming to end the separatist Tuareg movement.