Mali opposition says more leaders arrested

Mali's opposition groups are trying to force President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign.
Mali's opposition groups are trying to force President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign.

Mali's opposition coalition says security forces have detained two leaders of anti-government protests and raided its headquarters after violent demonstrations against the president.

Small groups of protesters erected barricades out of tyres and bits of wood to block traffic through several districts in Bamako, the capital, on Saturday although numbers were well below the thousands who took to the streets and occupied state buildings on Friday.

The opposition coalition M5-RFP said Choguel Kokala Maiga and Mountaga Tall, two senior figures in the movement, were detained along with other activists on Saturday.

Another protest leader, Issa Kaou Djim, was arrested on Friday.

In addition, security forces "came and attacked and ransacked our headquarters," M5-RFP spokesman Nouhoum Togo said.

On Friday, police fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters who had occupied parliament and the state broadcaster as part of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign for failing to tackle Mali's security and economic problems.

Social media platforms and messaging apps were restricted as of Saturday afternoon after being partially blocked on Friday, internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said.

Australian Associated Press