Protesters march on Malian presidential palace

May 21, 2012 15:42

BAMAKO - Thousands of protesters marched on Mali's presidential palace on Monday, paralyzing traffic in the capital Bamako in a demonstration against an internationally-backed accord to extend the mandate of civilian president Dioncounda Traore.

Some protesters at the gates of the palace shouted slogans in support of Captain Amadou Sanogo, the officer who led the March 22 military coup which unintentionally emboldened northern rebels to seize two-thirds of the West African country.

The protest, reflecting longstanding popular frustrations with Mali's political class, came despite Sanogo agreeing at the weekend to let Traore remain in charge for a year to oversee the full transition to civilian rule in return for securing the status and privileges accorded to former heads of state.

"There is no question of Dioncounda staying as president of Mali," said Daouda Diallo, one demonstrator amongst a group marching up the hill towards the presidential palace.

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