Protests and the meaning of clothes in Mali


Mali junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo speaks at the Kati Military camp, in a suburb of Bamako, on March 22, 2012. The coup leader said he is the head of the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, said his move was prompted by government's "inability" to put down a Tuareg-led insurrection in the north.


Habibou Kouyate

Not shooting anyone is a good start if you've recently carried out a coup and installed yourself as leader of the country and are now facing the first-ever protest of your rule just days later. In that respect then Captain Amadou Sanogo is doing well. In every other aspect, less so.

Monday's protest in front of the Bamako stock exchange was small and ineffectual but proves that not everyone is willing to let the coup slide into normality. 

More from GlobalPost: Mali coup: country slowly returns to ordinary life

The March was held on a national holiday, ironically the one to celebrate the 1991 coup that brought ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure to power. His whereabouts are still unclear.

A portrait of Mali's new leader is gradually coming into focus and he has been giving interviews to journalists insisting that he really is in charge after what looked a lot like an accidental coup. One report describes him as "a ladies man with several children who likes a good party, football and sports."

Embarrassingly for Washington, Cpt. Sanogo has received training from US forces (on Monday the US suspended up to $70 million in aid to Mali). He has also, it seems, taken to donning traditional garb beneath his soldier's uniform to broadcast his power and ward off would-be attackers, mystical or corporeal, according to anthropologist Bruce Whitehouse.