From RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – SECURITY forces in the volatile Mali have assaulted government critics ahead of a referendum on a constitutional amendment.In one incident, at least eight people have been reported injured after more than 100 police officers surrounded demonstrators in the capital Bamako, beat them with batons before dispersing them.
In another alleged violation, police dispersed a peaceful demonstration with tear gas and briefly arrested demonstrators.Following the upheavals, Amnesty International called on authorities to guarantee the right to freedom of peaceful demonstration.
“To systematically prohibit citizens from demonstrating to express an opinion constitutes an unjustified restriction on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” said Gaetan Mootoo, West Africa spokesperson.
The Malian national assembly at the beginning of June adopted a draft of a new constitution which will have to be ratified by referendum in July.It provides for the creation of a senate and gives new powers to the president.Members of the “Too Much Too” movement, opponents and members of civil society have strongly criticized the revision.
The country is beset by militancy, which claimed the lives of five people at a resort the capital this past weekend.Yesterday (Tuesday), the United States reiterated the resolve in the fight against terrorism and its solidarity with Mali.
– CAJ News