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Malian protesters beat interim president

 
 
 
 
 
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Thousands of Malians gather in front of the presidential compound in Bamako on May 21, 2012.

Protesters have attacked interim Malian President Diancounda Traore, beating and bruising the 70-year-old leader at his office in Bamako.

The mobs, who were angry at Traore’s appointment in a deal reached with the junta, dodged security and burst into his office and beat him on Monday, AFP reported.

“The protesters, who were many, evaded security forces… they found him in his office. He was beaten but his life is not in danger. He was driven to hospital,” said a source in the presidency.

The demonstrators, who numbered in the thousands, overran many other government offices.

Traore was briefly hospitalized. “He had a scan which showed no serious injury,” said a doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Malian authorities and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediators recently reached an agreement on a one-year transition period to restore full democratic rule in the country. The transition period will start after a 40-day interim period.

Traore and Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra have been tasked with organizing elections and bringing an end to the northern separatist rebellion.

On Friday, the Malian parliament passed a bill that would grant amnesty to the coup leaders, who toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22.

The parliament passed the bill, but it must be signed by the interim president before coming into effect as a law.

The Malian junta said it had overthrown Toure because his government had not done enough in the military campaign against separatist Tuareg rebels in the north.

But in the wake of the coup, the Tuareg rebels have taken control of the entire northern desert region.

Toure tendered his official resignation on April 8 to facilitate a deal signed by junta leader Captain Sanogo and ECOWAS mediator Djibril Bassole to establish an interim government and restore constitutional rule.

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