Mali’s coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita is gradually attracting significant support from citizens despite international pressure to a switch to civilian rule.
On Friday, several hundred supporters of Mali’s M5 opposition movement gathered at a central square in the capital Bamako to rally behind the military leader.
It was also the commemoration of the launch of the mass protests last year that ousted ex-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18, 2020.
Colonel Assimi Goita last month carried out second coup in just nine months and this time round assumed the role of interim president.
Choguel Kokalla Maïga is expected to be named as new interim prime minister. Maïga is a leader of the 5 June-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP) movement.
Meanwhile Ecowas and African Union have all suspended Mali and demanded a smooth transition to a civilian rule with the organization of elections next year.
France on Friday also suspended joint military operations with Malian forces, and stopped providing military advice.
Citizens have been reacting to these international pressures on the current military led transitional government.
Kadiatou Sangaré, a M5-RFP supporter told the AFP that “If the French army wants to leave, good luck. If the jihadists have to come to Bamako, they will come to Bamako, we will manage it as we can.
“But in the end we will have a definitive solution because when Germany occupied France, the French managed, they got away with it and now they are among the best. If we have to fight for our country… This is our home, we won’t go anywhere, we’ll fight here and we’ll succeed.”
Mohamed Diarra, another protester, was quoted by AFP as saying that “Macron is just someone who boasts. We are already a sovereign people, it is not up to Macron, six thousand kilometres from Mali, to decide the fate of the Malians.
“We have given France a chance since the 1960s. There are agreements that bind us, but France has not been able to put them into practice, we are a sovereign state, we have the choice of partnership with whom we want, it is not up to France to impose itself.”
Mali is still expected to receive the needed support from ECOWAS and the international community towards returning to civilian rule.