In Mali, 26 March is a public holiday known as Martyrs’ Day. It is also sometimes called Democracy Day. This holiday commemorates the 1991 uprising that put Mali on the path to a democratic governmental system. Special reference is made to the “martyrs” who gave their lives to bring greater freedom to their beloved homeland.
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|2023||26 Mar||Sun||Martyrs' Day|
|2024||26 Mar||Tue||Martyrs' Day|
|Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.|
Following Mali gaining independence from France in 1960, it underwent a series of military coups and one-party dictatorships. The country’s first president, Modibo Keita, was overthrown in 1968. He was followed by President Traore, who tried to impose one-party rule indefinitely. But Traore and his brutal tactics stirred up opposition, which culminated in a coup against his government on 26 March, 1991.
A military uprising led by Amadou Toure began the coup, but they soon instituted democratic reforms and ended one-party control of the country. Malians look back to 26 March as the starting point for a new beginning for their country, which had endured decades of oppressive, undemocratic regimes. Martyrs’ Day is as much a time to celebrate freedom as it is to remember those who died that their fellow countrymen might enjoy it.
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|2020||26 Mar||Thu||Martyrs' Day|
|2019||26 Mar||Tue||Martyrs' Day|
|2018||26 Mar||Mon||Martyrs' Day|
|2017||26 Mar||Sun||Martyrs' Day|