Protesters mobilise against proposed constitutional revisions

Peaceful Assembly

In the last several months, protests have taken place in Mali over the government's adoption on the night of 2nd and 3rd June 2017 of a draft law to change the constitution. The authorities planned a public referendum on the draft law for 9th July 2017. According to the government, the revised law is needed to implement provisions in the peace agreement of 2015 with the Touareg-led rebel alliance that foresees the creation of a Senate and a Court of Auditors. Protesters assert that the draft constitutional revisions would expand the powers of the president, and a referendum is not viable option, given the security concerns with a part of the country occupied by jihadist groups. 

Thus far protests have been held on 8th and 17th June, as well as 1st July and 15 July 2017, gathering thousands of people in the capital Bamako and various regions. The civic platform “Antè A Bana – Ne Touche Pas à Ma Constitution” (Don't Touch My Constitution) has brought together civil society groups, unions, opposition groups and the movement “trop c’est trop” to organise and mobilise citizens to protest the proposed constitutional changes. According to its press statement, platform members has faced intimidation and threats, including the disruption of social media use for the protest actions. On 8th June, in particular, the protest organised at the Bourse du Travail in Bamako was dispersed by riot police, as shown in the video below. The government's referendum on the draft law, originally planned for 9th July 2017, has been postponed. 

Expression

On 20th June 2017, the District Court of Bamako annulled the proceedings against Adama Dramé, director of publications at the weekly Sphinx, who had been charged with defamation based on a complaint from Karim Kéita, son of the president and a Member of Parliament. Dramé had published an article on the alleged involvement of Kéita in liberating a scam artist who had cleared goods with a non-certified check. Kéita had demanded four million CFA for damages to his reputation and the prosecutor had requested a suspended prison sentence of three months and a fine of 100,000 CFA.