Malians took to the streets en masse on Friday after the military junta called for protests against stringent sanctions imposed by the West Africa bloc ECOWAS over delayed elections. AfricaNews reports that in the capital Bamako, thousands of people wearing the national colours of red, yellow and green gathered in a central square, for a rally staged by the military government, and sang patriotic songs. Interim prime minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga, wearing military uniform, addressed a crowd massed in a main square, saying that “All of Africa is watching Mali,” and that “to some extent, the fate of Africa is being played out in Mali”. Evoking the history of African resistance against colonisers, he also paid “special tribute” to China and Russia for opposing what he said was the “illegal and illegitimate embargo against [the country]”.