Authorities in Mali have freed 20 political opponents detained during days of deadly anti-government protests in Mali, according to emerging reports.
The release is seen as an attempt to calm down the tensions that arose after accusations of manipulation of parliamentary elections in the country.
The protesters who filled the streets of the capital, Bamako, clashed with security forces in a violent rally showing discontent over the country’s handling of lingering insecurity.
No fewer than 11 people have died and more than 150 were injured since Friday after security forces fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse the protesters.
The protesters demand French troops out of their soil, want the State to have full control of its resources, and ultimately ask President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign.
President Boubacar has been in power since 2013 and has been facing many challenges, from Islamists insurgency to different oppositions and uprisings.
On Saturday, the 75-year-old president said he had revoked the nominations of all the remaining members of the constitutional court to appoint new judges from next week, in another attempt to calm the protests.
The Mali most influential cleric Mahmoud Dicko, who is the leader of the protesters, also tried to tamp down the tensions on Sunday.
“I once again call on the youth of Mali to show restraint and calm,” Dicko told reporters.
“We can truly find and obtain what we want (through) patience (and) good behaviour,” he added.
“But the struggles continue,” he concluded.
A video circulating on social media shows Dicko in his mosque calling the protesters to avoid setting fire on petrol stations.