Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is under pressure from opposition groups to resign following deadly demonstrations calling for political reforms.
The President’s son, Karim Keita announced his resignation as head of parliament’s defence committee amid the public furor in the West African nation.
At least 11 protesters were killed and 150 people injured in days of clashes between Malian security forces and protesters who targeted government buildings during anti-government marches in the capital Bamako, according to Mali’s Secretary General for Health Mama Couma.
Access to social media and messaging platforms including Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook have been partially restricted for most of the population since the protests began Friday, Netblocks said on Monday.
The street demonstrations were organized by opposition coalition group M5-RFP and its supporters calling for a transitional government.
The unrest in the capital continued on Monday as youths barricaded some roads and bridges in the city.
Gunshots were heard around a mosque owned by influential cleric Mahmoud Dicko, which was the scene of some of the deadly confrontation between security forces and protesters.
Dicko who has appealed to protesters not to “set fire to the country” is one of the movement’s key leaders.
In a statement on Monday, Keita said he did not want to be the target of groups using “populists slogans” and his position at the parliament to drive their political agenda.
“I no longer wish to be an argument for people in need of a program, nor to be an obstacle to dialogue between Malians to achieve a calming of the socio-political situation of our country,” the younger Keita said.
He still retains his seat as a lawmaker.
The president dissolved the constitutional court at the center of the controversy that followed a legislative election in March and also promised to appoint new judges to preside over disputes that arose from the polls.
He announced his intention to form a more inclusive government among many moves to douse tensions in the country.
Twenty opposition members arrested during the protests were released on Monday, one of the groups, Coordination of Movements, Associations and Supporters of Mahmoud Dicko (CMAS) said.
But one of the main opposition members and former minister in Keita’s government Mountaga Tall told CNN peaceful “civil disobedience” will continue despite the president’s promises.
“The dissolution of the court and the consensual government do not correspond to our vision of the change that the people want,” Tall said.
The weekend protest is the third time thousands of Malians will heed calls for demonstration by the opposition coalition M5-RFP asking the president to resign.
Public discontent began growing in May after the country’s top constitutional court overturned results from a disputed parliamentary elections paving the way for the president’s party to occupy a majority of the vacant seats.
Dispute over the polls sparked post-electoral violence in several districts in the capital and other towns in March.
Opposition also asked the government to dissolve the parliament and appoint an independent body to oversee new elections.
Executive Director Citizen and Security Observatory Baba Dakono told CNN that the president’s “piecemeal solutions” are not enough to capture the movement’s agitations for a reform.
Dakono said opposition groups must be carried along in selecting new members of a constitutional court to ensure a transparent system.