Mali protesters: Drop France and ally with Russia

Thousands of protesters have taken part in a rally in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to call for closer ties with Russia.

The rally follows days of diplomatic tension between Paris and Bamako after Mali’s interim leaders acknowledged that they were in talks with the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

The Malians who took to the streets on Wednesday were supporting the transitional government.

It’s under pressure from France and regional group Ecowas to hold elections in February and to renounce possible co-operation with Wagner.

The march was organised by the Yerewolo movement, which is opposed to the presence of French forces in Mali.

Referring to the launch of the French military operation against jihadists in northern Mali in January 2013, its spokesperson Siriki Kouyaté told the AFP news agency that “France and the international community have had nine years without results, without security, without protection of people and property”.

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