Soldiers fired on anti-government protesters in the Mali capital of Bamako on Friday, killing at least 22 people, witnesses and doctors said. The slayings set off widespread rioting.

"Everyone has taken to the streets. It's anarchy out there," said a witness in Bamako reached by telephone from Abidjan.Witnesses said students with firebombs set government buildings ablaze and looted and burned gas stations, shops and cars belonging to senior officials of President Gen. Moussa Traore's ruling party.

Students demanding the resignation of the education minister were joined by tens of thousands of people shouting for multiparty democracy and an end to Traore's rule, said Demba Diallo, president of the Malian Human Rights Organization.