Thousands of people gathered in this capital Friday to demand the expulsion of foreign forces from Mali and express gratitude for Russia's support to the Malian military.

The protest was directed at the French-led Operation Barkhane counterinsurgency effort against Islamist groups in the Sahel region; the Takuba Task Force, a French-commanded European unit with a mission to advise and assist the Malian armed forces (FAMA); and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).