Burkina Faso security forces fire tear gas at protesters
Ouagadougou – Security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday, as tensions escalated across the strife-torn country and residents angered the government’s inability to stem violence linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
Several hundred demonstrators took to the streets, calling for President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to resign. Army and police forces moved into the center of Ouagadougou, the capital, during clashes with protesters, who stormed the streets, set tires on fire and threw stones and bricks.
“We reject the loss of Burkina Faso. We will put in place a competent person to ensure the security of the nation,” said Isaac Bagpiram. “We have already lost two-thirds of our land, and no one can travel in the country in peace. We say no! We cannot sit until the jihadists come to Ouagadougou to kill us.”
The protests come after the deadliest attack in years against security forces in Som Sahel province earlier this month, in which more than 50 security forces were killed, and after an attack in the northern central region in which 19 people were exposed, including nine members of the security forces. killing.
The unrest against the government also comes in the wake of anti-French protests last week, in which at least four people were injured when French forces fired warning shots at protesters in Kaya who stopped their military convoy from Ivory Coast trying to cross into the country. Niger. And while most of Saturday’s protest was against the government, anti-French protesters also threw stones at foreigners.
The government’s crackdown on protesters comes a week after the mobile internet shutdown, which the government said was on national security grounds. The president pledged to increase aid to the military and investigate deaths in the Sahel region, while calling on residents to maintain calm.
“The people of Burkina Faso have the right and duty to express themselves freely in the conduct of public affairs,” Kabore said. “I would urge everyone to be rational and not believe that breaking the thermometer will cure a fever.”
But anger across the country is mounting with more protests planned in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, the opposition gave the president a one-month ultimatum to stop the violence or said it would start protests calling for his resignation.
The international community called for a return to peaceful social and political life, according to a statement issued by the European Union. However, diplomats say it is clear that the ruling political elite is losing support as well as the West, which is on the side of the government, according to a Western diplomat who was not authorized to speak to the media, so he spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.