Martyrs’ Day in Mali

Martyrs’ Day is a holiday observed annually on March 26th in Mali. This public holiday commemorates all the protesters who were killed during demonstrations against President Traoré during the 1991 Malian coup d’état. Because this is a public holiday, government offices, banks, and some businesses are closed.

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 memory of the unfortunate deaths associated with the coup d’état alive 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 1960, thereby creating the independent Republic of Mali. Modibo Keïta 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 much unrest.

In November 1968, during a bloodless coup led by Moussa Traoré, the Keïta regime was ousted from 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 a multi-party democracy, the government at the time made only limited concessions 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. Four days of rioting ensued, and military support for the Traoré administration ended. President Traoré was then arrested, and the constitution was suspended.

A civilian-led government took over, and a new constitution was put into effect. The first multi-party elections took place in June 1992.

Observing Martyrs’ Day in Mali

This day is observed with solemn wreath-laying ceremonies and speeches given by politicians, reminding the public about the importance of this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Mali (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 26 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
March 26 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
March 26 Sunday