Malians Protest Foreign Military Intervention Plans
[An Nahar] Some 2,000 people erupted into the streets in the Malian capital Thursday to protest plans for a foreign military intervention to reclaim territory seized by armed Islamist groups in the north.
The march was organized to support Mali's own army and to protest plans by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to send in a regional force, but failed to match the numbers of a pro-intervention march a week ago, which drew some 10,000 people.
The protesters marched through the streets of central Bamako brandishing signs and banners and chanting in protest against interim president Dioncounda Traore.
"Dioncounda is incompetent," "No to the confiscation of our national illusory sovereignty," and "Long live the Malian army" were among the slogans.
The march was called by an umbrella group of civil society groups called the Coordination of Patriotic Organizations of Mali (COPAM). Last week's march was sponsored by political parties, unions, and non-COPAM organizations.
Once considered one of Africa's most stable democracies, Mali was plunged into chaos by a March 22 coup that overthrew the government of president Amadou Toumani Toure.
A series of Islamist groups including al-Qaeda's north African branch capitalized on the power vacuum to seize the country's vast desert north, an area larger than La Belle France.
Posted by: Fred