Panafrican News Agency

Mali: Malian press saddened by occupation of national television by demonstrators

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - Malian press organizations said Sunday they were saddened by the “anarchic” occupation of the offices the national broadcasting house (ORTM) by demonstrators here Friday.

Members of the Mouvement du 5 Juin-Rassemblement des forces patriotiques (M5- RFP)besieged the offices of the station, ransacked the premises and burnt several service vehicles of staff, a statement issued by the umbrella organizations of the Malian press sent to PANA said here.

"At this very serious moment, we, members of the press umbrella organizations, show our unfailing support to our colleagues of ORTM.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent turn of events and call for greater security for media personnel and their property,” the statement said.

It called on the demonstrators to remain calm and discerning while reaffirming their deep attachment to freedom of expression and opinion.

They expressed their unwavering support for ORTM's colleagues, hoping the staff would be compensated up to the number of damages suffered, urging all journalists to remain calm and observe the rules of ethics and deontology.

They invited political actors to give priority to dialogue and peace for the resolution of the current political crisis.

On Friday, the M5-RFP, which brings together opposition political parties and civil society organizations, organized a civil disobedience demonstration to call for the resignation of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita and his regime.

They accused them of "bad governance" and "mismanagement" of the multifaceted crisis that Mali has been experiencing for several years.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators first converged at the Independence Square in Bamako and then occupied the entrances of the prime minister's office, the national assembly, and the ORTM, which they ransacked and looted.

According to the latest report, at least four people were killed by the security forces during the demonstrations, which also left around 40 people injured, five of them seriously.

Reliable sources revealed that the Malian government had arrested several leaders of the M5-RFP, which intends to continue with its actions of civil disobedience until its demands are met.

These include the dissolution of the national assembly, which it deems illegitimate, the renewal of the nine members of the constitutional court, the setting up of a transitional government with a prime minister with full powers appointed by the M5-RFP and a body in place of the national assembly.

They accused the constitutional court of being involved in "the tampering" with results of the legislative elections (March-April 2020) in favor of the presidential party, the Rassemblement pour le Mali (RPM).

"As long as the president remains deaf to our grievances, we will fight until the final victory," said a leader of the movement.


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