Mass protests enact change in Burkina Faso

By Lindsey Stokes
Staff Writer

Nearly three weeks after outraged protesters marched through the streets demanding that President Blaise Compaoré resign after 27 years in power, the military government of the West African Nation, Burkina Faso declared over the weekend that a new civilian interim President will be announced no later than Monday.

According to Al Jazeera, public outcry began on Oct. 28, when President Compaoré was poised to amend the constitution allowing for an extension to his time in office. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital, Ouagadougou, as well as in Bobo Dioulasso and Ouahigouya, two of the nation’s largest cities.

Two days later on Oct. 30, protesters set fire to government buildings, including the National Assembly, sections of the Parliament building, and the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party headquarters. Ougadougou airport was closed and all incoming and outgoing flights were canceled.

Police used rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to quell the demonstrations but to no avail. At present three deaths have been blamed on the violence.

By the end of day on Oct. 31, amid enormous domestic pressure , Compaoré resigned and fled the country.

After the resignation, according to Reuters, the civilian-lead Operation Mana-Mana, or “Clean-Clean” in the Mande Language Dyula, was staged to clear the streets and restore peace.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 1, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Yacouba Zida declared himself the new transitional head of state. Zida promptly suspended the constitution and cracked down on dissent.

According to the Associated Press, Zida reinstated the constitution Saturday after mounting international concerns.

On Thursday as part of negotiations among civilian, military, and political leaders an agreement to install a transitional civilian leader, and an interim legislative chamber until elections are organized next year was reached.

Negotiations included discussions on newer, clearly defined roles for the President, the Parliament, and the Prime Minister.

The new interim President will be chosen Monday by a special college composed of religious, military, political, civil and traditional leaders according to BBC News.

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