Malian security forces fired tear gas at dozens of demonstrators in the capital Bamako on Wednesday during an unauthorised rally against France’s military role in the country. The protesters, who were in a central square in the West African city, fled before the gas canisters fired by a large number police and gendarmes. Police roadblocks also stopped motorbike convoys of protesters making their way towards the square from different parts of the city, according to AFP journalists. […]
But France’s military presence in Mali is frequently criticised on social media and by civic leaders. Activists also stage occasional demonstrations in Bamako against French troops. Their role was placed in the spotlight earlier this month when several residents in the village of Bounti said about 20 people in a wedding party had been killed in a strike by a helicopter. It occurred on January 3, they said, near where French forces said they carried out an airstrike on jihadists using a fighter jet.