Breaking: Compaore declares state of emergency in Burkina Faso

Breaking: Compaore declares state of emergency in Burkina Faso

Thursday, October 30, 2014 7:05 pm

Blaise Compaore: in power since 1987

Blaise Compaore: in power since 1987

Under fire, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso has declared a state of emergency, after several days of riots and protests, triggered by his plans to amend the constitution and seek additional terms in office.

“A state of emergency has been declared throughout the country. The army chief of staff is charged with carrying out this decree, which enters into force from this day,” a statement from the presidency read.

The document was not dated and carried a signature that did not resemble the president’s usual one.

The protests went out of control today as the National Assembly in the capital of Ouagadougou was torched by the protesters, who defied the teargas and cordon mounted by the police. The protesters also vandalised the state TV station. And there was rioting too in Bobo Dioulasso, the second major city, where Compaore’s party secretariat and the City Hall were burnt down.

Timeline of Events in Burkina Faso leading to state of emergency:

Tuesday, October 28: Hundreds of demonstrators armed with iron bars and stones battle police in the capital of Burkina Faso following a rally by hundreds of thousands against plans to allow Compaore to extend his rule beyond 30 years.

Protestors blow whistles and vuvuzela trumpets and carry banners reading “Blaise Get Out!” and “Don’t Touch Article 37”, the constitutional term limit that might be scrapped to let the president seek re-election.

Washington voices concern about “the spirit and intent behind a draft” bill to amend the constitution.

Wednesday, October 29: Trade unions call for a general strike, but while several thousand people demonstrate, many shops remain open.

Opposition figures call for a blockade of parliament the next day, when lawmakers are to due to mull the constitutional changes.

One leader calls for a “Black Spring” in reference to the “Arab Spring” revolts that swept countries in north Africa and the Middle East.

Government spokesman Alain Edouard Traore issues a statement hailing the “vitality” of Burkina Faso’s democracy despite what he termed anti-government “misbehaviour”.

October 30: More than 1,000 demonstrators storm parliament in protest at plans after police fired tear gas to keep them away.

Hundreds manage to break through the security cordon and rush into the parliament, AFP correspondents reported.

The protesters ransacked offices, set fire to documents, stole computer equipment, and set fire to cars outside, as the US and France call for calm.

Others break into the headquarters of the national television station RTB, pillaging equipment and smashing cars, the correspondents say.

One man is killed in the chaos.

Crowds later mass near the presidential palace but are held back by troops from the presidential guard who fire warning shots into the air.

The ruling party headquarters in the second city of Bobo Dioulasso and the city hall are also torched by protesters, witnesses say.

The government announces that the vote has been called off, but it is not clear for how long.

Army chiefs later meet with Kouame Lougue, a retired general whom tens of thousands of opposition members want to succeed Compaore.

Opposition leader Benewende Sankara affirms that the army is on the people’s side.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he will send a special envoy to the country.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.