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Mali Coup Leaders Pledge Democracy After Deposing President

The former president and his prime minister were taken to Kati military camp in a large military convoy. Mr. Keïta was forced to resign in an appearance on state television.

“For seven years I had the happiness and the joy of trying to straighten out this country,” Mr. Keïta said from a curtained room, his words muffled by a surgical mask. “I don’t want any blood to be shed to keep me in my position.”

The coup leaders, who called themselves the National Commission for the People’s Salvation, made no direct reference to the protest movement, known as the June 5 Movement, that had led ballooning demonstrations over the past two months. The movement’s figurehead, a popular imam in Bamako, Mahmoud Dicko, has not yet spoken about the coup.

Mr. Wague said the military had acted “to prevent the country from sinking,” and called on the country’s civil society to help “create the best conditions for a civil political transition leading to credible general elections.” This would “lay the foundations for a new Mali,” he sa

“Our democracy was already sick, even very sick, and the recent events — of which the military coup is only the culmination — are a final blow to what remains,” wrote Boubacar Sangaré, a journalist, in an editorial published Wednesday morning.

Bamako’s Independence Square, which had been the scene of jubilation as the military drove their captives through it on Tuesday, emptied out overnight. And by Wednesday morning it was crowded with typical, hooting traffic, although many banks and businesses were closed.

The soldiers announced a nighttime curfew and closed the country’s borders from the inside, while Ecowas, the West African regional organization, closed them from the outside and said that sanctions should be imposed.

Ruth Maclean reported from Dakar and Elian Peltier from London.

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