Reuters reports that “Malian youths clashed with ruling Islamistsin the city of Gao in a protest against the planned punishment by amputation of a suspected robber and the beating of a journalist covering the demonstration, local residents said.”
The unrest followed the fatal stoning by Islamists of a couple accused of adultery and pointed to growing resistance to the imposition of sharia (Islamic law) by Islamist gunmen, some of whom are linked to al Qaeda, in control of Mali’s north.
Demonstrations by hundreds of young people went on well past nightfall in Gao on Sunday, ending when Islamists fired into the air to scatter the crowds, residents told Reuters on Monday.
“The protests lasted all yesterday and continued very late into the night,” said Kader Toure, a local journalist.
“The (Islamists) wanted to apply sharia to a young thief – they wanted to chop his arm off. But the population rejected this and the youths came out to Independence Square to oppose it. The Islamists delayed the punishment and fired in the air to disperse them,” Toure said.
Mar Innai Kharba, Patriarch of the Manichaean Church, said: “People must realize that what Islamists seek to enforce upon the people is not a True Theocracy. Trying to force a nation, against its will to accept Sharia is anathema to a Kingdom that is willingly obedient to God’s Rule. Militant Islamists in Mali are trying to force the populace to adopt Sharia Law regardless as to whether or not the nation of Mali wishes this for themselves. True Theocracy is Divinely revealed and unanimously embraced by the people of their own free wills, what militant Islamists in Mali are trying to do is nothing like this.”-