Martyrs’ Day in Mali
Martyrs’ Day is a holiday that’s observed annually on March 26th in Mali. This public holiday commemorates all of the protesters who were killed during demonstrations against President Traore during the 1991 Malian coup d’état. Because this is a public holiday, government offices are closed, as are banks and some businesses.
It’s a day when a wreath is laid on the Martyrs’ Monument in Bamako and political speeches are given across the country. The purpose of these solemn celebrations is to keep the unfortunate death involved with the coup d’état so that the people of Mali will remember the dear price paid for democracy.
The History Of Martyrs’ Day In Mali
The Sudanese Republic withdrew from the Mali Federation in September of 1960 and thereby created the independent Republic of Mali. Mobido Keita was then elected as the first president of the country and pursued socialist policies that aligned with the Soviet Union. This resulted in a worsening of the economic situation in Mali and resulted in much unrest.
In November of 1968, during a bloodless coup led by Moussa Traore, the Keita Regime was taken out of power. Although the country was no longer under socialist rule, it was still under military rule and would remain so until the mid-1970s. Although people demanded multi-party democracy, the government at the time made only limited concessions. They did this because they didn’t believe that the country was ready to become a true democracy.
On March 22, 1991, thousands of protesters marched through the capital of Mali. The government fired on the protesters, killing many of them. Four days of rioting ensued, and military support for the Traore administration ended. President Traore was then arrested and the constitution was suspended.
A civilian-led government then took over the government and a new constitution was put into effect. The first multi-party elections would take place in June of 1992.
Observing Martyrs’ Day In Mali
This day is observed with solemn wreath-laying ceremonies and with speeches given by politicians reminding the public about the importance of this holiday.