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At least one protestor dead in Mali after authorities crack down on protests

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 18 August 2016.

In response to the death of at least one protestor, the government of Mali's decision to temporarily block social media applications in the capital city of Bamako, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We strongly condemn authorities' excessive use of violence against protestors in Bamako and throughout Mali,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The government should respect citizens' constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and have unimpeded access to information.”

Background:

The most recent protests in Mali began after the August 15 arrest of radio host Mohamed Youssouf Bathily (commonly known as “Ras Bath”) for statements made against influential religious leaders and the Malian government. In July 2016, there were at least two instances when the government violently responded to protests, one of which resulted in the death of four demonstrators in Gao.

Mali is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016.

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