Burkina Faso: security forces fire tear gas at protesters :: WRAL.com
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Security forces fired tear gas at protesters throwing stones in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday as tensions mounted in the conflict-ridden country, with people angry at the government’s inability to stem the violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.
Several hundred demonstrators took to the streets, calling for the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. The army and police passed through downtown Ouagadougou, the capital, in clashes with protesters, who barricaded the streets, set tires on fire and threw stones and bricks.
“We refuse to lose Burkina Faso. We will put in place someone who is competent to keep the nation safe, ”said Isaac Pagberam. “We have already lost two-thirds of our territory, no one can travel the country in peace. We say no! We cannot sit down until the jihadists come to Ouagadougou to kill us.
The protest comes after the deadliest attack in years on security forces in Sahel’s Soum province earlier this month, where more than 50 security forces were killed and after an attack in the Central region. North where 19 people including nine members of the security forces were killed.
The unrest against the government also follows anti-French protests last week, where at least four people were injured when French forces fired warning shots at protesters in Kaya who stopped his military convoy from Côte d’Ivoire trying to cross into Niger. While Saturday’s protest was mainly directed against the government, anti-French protesters also threw stones at foreigners.
The government’s crackdown on protesters follows a week-long shutdown of mobile internet, which the government said was for national security reasons. The president promised to increase aid to the military and to investigate the deaths in the Sahel while calling on the population to remain calm.
“The Burkinabé people have the right and the duty to express themselves freely on the conduct of public affairs,” Kaboré declared. “I would like to urge everyone to be reasonable and not believe that breaking the thermometer will cure a fever.”
But anger is mounting across the country with more protests planned in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, the opposition gave the president a month-long ultimatum to stem the violence or said it would start protests to demand his resignation.
The international community calls for a return to a peaceful social and political life, according to a press release from the European Union. However, diplomats say it is clear that the ruling political elite is losing its support, as is the West, which stands alongside the government, according to a Western diplomat who was not authorized to speak to the media, then spoke on condition of anonymity.