Reuters International

BAMAKO (Reuters) - One person was shot dead in Mali's capital on Wednesday and others were wounded as police opened fire to disperse a protest over the arrest of a talk show host who is a critic of the government, three Malian rights groups said in a statement.

Police also fired tear gas to disperse the fans of Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, who was arrested on Monday and is due to be brought before a tribunal charged with an outrage against public decency, witnesses said.

Bathily, who is known as Ras Bath, presents a show called Cards on the Table on Maliba FM radio, in which he often attacks policies of the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Fresh protests are expected on Thursday, witnesses said.

"Our organizations condemn the excessive use of lethal arms to maintain order and call on the authorities to identify and punish those responsible," said a statement from three rights groups including the Malian Association of Human Rights.

The protest also reflected public discontent in Mali over corruption, unemployment, the cost of living and insecurity linked to separatist violence in the north of the country and attacks by Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Adama Diarra; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Andrew Roche)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International