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Protesters entered Burkina Faso’s parliament in Ouagadougou this morning, setting fire to the main chamber. Demonstrators also seized computers and all kinds of furniture, then dragged their loot onto the street.
Their goal was to get in the way of today’s vote. The members of parliament were supposed to look into an extension of term limits that would allow President Blaise Compaoré to run for a fith mandate, after 27 years of reign.
After succeeding to break throughout the heavy security cordon, 1500 protestors stormed the National Assembly, plundering offices and setting fire to cars. They next headed to National Television, continuing their ransack, causing the broadcast of both state radio and television to stop. As they appear to be now on their way to presidential palace, one man has been reportedly killed.
These extreme tensions take place in one of the only calm and stable area in west Africa. The protestors ask President Compaoré to step down from power. He gained his seat after a coup in 1987 and has been re-elected four times since. “We do not want him again!” demonstrators shouted today in the streets of the capital city, “it is over for the regime!”.
The government announced later this day it was calling off the vote. But to the demonstrators’ utter despair, this should be a temporary move, as the vote will be re-scheduled to a later date.
White House and French press secretary’s offices expressed their concerns about the unrest and appealed for calm.
Célia Maillet, IEJ3F