Burkina Faso in Chaos as Tens of Thousands Take to Streets

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A heavily armed convoy believed to be carrying Burkina Faso's

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Burkina Faso on Friday to press President Blaise Compaore to step down, a day after the army dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests. Compaore has ruled the landlocked West African country since he seized power in a 1987 coup but events on Thursday have left it unclear who is in charge.

"We want him out of power. He is not our president," said Ouedrago Yakubo, amid the huge crowd that gathered at the main Place de la Nation and in front of the army headquarters. Compaore, a close ally of former colonial power France, said late on Thursday he would stay in office at the head of a transitional government until after elections. He also scrapped an unpopular plan to amend the constitution to allow him to seek election next year. His announcement came after the head of the armed forces, General Honore Traore, said he would hold talks with all political parties to create an interim government to take the West African country to democratic elections within a year. Benewende Sankara, a prominent opposition member, said Troare's statement amounted to a military coup. At least three protesters were shot dead and scores wounded in clashes with security forces on Thursday as demonstrators attacked symbols of Compaore's long rule, looted and set fire to parliament and ransacked state television.


Burkina Faso
Men shout slogans in front of burning cars near Burkina Faso's Parliament in Ouagadougou on Oct. 30 as they protest against plans to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year rule. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP - Getty Images
- Reuters