Hundreds of protesters marched in the capital of Burkina Faso on Friday demanding that President Blaise Compaore step down, a day after the military dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests.
“We don’t want him. We want him out of power. He is not our president,” demonstrator Ouedrago Yakubo told Reuters. The demonstrators gathered at the main Place de la Nation and in front of the army headquarters.
Compaore, a close ally of former colonial power France who seized power in a coup in 1987, 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.
“The departure of Compaore is a condition and non negotiable. For 27 years, Compaore has tricked us. Even now he is trying to fool us and trick the people,” he told RFI radio
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.
Events in Ouagadougou are being closely watched by a generation of long-ruling leaders across West and Central Africa who are also butting up against constitutional term limits.