Violent Protests Topple Government in Burkina Faso

Herve Taoko et al., New York Times, October 30, 2014

The government of Burkina Faso collapsed on Thursday as demonstrators protesting President Blaise Compaoré’s plans to stay in office after 27 years surged through the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital, overrunning state broadcasters, setting fire to Parliament and burning the homes of the president’s relatives.

Authorities imposed martial law, according to a communiqué from the presidential palace.

After several hours of increasingly violent protests, a government spokesman announced that a bill to extend the term of Mr. Compaoré had been dropped, or at least delayed. Yet the protests continued, and later in the day, Mr. Compaoré announced that the government had been dissolved and promised more talks with the opposition “to end the crisis,” according to a statement read on a local radio station.

Still later, according to The Associated Press, he spoke briefly on television and vowed to remain in office.


Gen. Honoré Nabéré Traoré, the chief of staff of Burkina Faso’s armed forces, said at a news conference Thursday night that a transitional authority would lead the country to new elections within 12 months. He did not say who would form the interim government. He also announced that a dusk-to-dawn curfew would take effect.


Posts on social media sites had earlier shown images of a statue of Mr. Compaoré being toppled and dragged from its plinth. Television footage showed huge crowds coursing down broad thoroughfares of Ouagadougou (pronounced wah-gah-DOO-goo), some riding in hijacked vehicles, as armed police officers in pickup trucks retreated before them.


At the presidential palace, soldiers fired live rounds and used tear gas to repel crowds seeking to storm the building, witnesses said. Several people were killed by gunfire, news reports said.

Elsewhere in the city, opposition leaders demanded the resignation of Mr. Compaoré, a former soldier who seized power in a coup and then won several elections, the most recent in November 2010.

There have been outbreaks of violence against Mr. Compaoré at least six other times since 1999, most recently in 2011, with government buildings defaced and protesters taking to the streets. Mr. Compaoré has always managed to stay in office through a combination of negotiation, conciliation and restrained use of firepower. But it was not clear whether his late afternoon concessions on Thursday would be enough this time.

“I’m pledging from today to open talks with all the actors to end the crisis,” Mr. Compaoré said in the statement broadcast on the radio, continuing his practice of rarely appearing in public, particularly in moments of crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, France, the colonial power that once ruled Burkina Faso and still has a special-forces base there, said it deplored the violence and urged calm.

France regards Mr. Compaoré as a crucial ally in its efforts to confront Islamic militants in the broader Sahel region with ties to Al Qaeda. Burkina Faso, formerly called Upper Volta, is home to about 3,600 French citizens.


Initial reports said demonstrators had broken through police lines to take over the Parliament building and to prevent lawmakers from voting on the contentious proposal, which would have overturned a provision that limits the president to two terms.

Black smoke was later seen rising from the building. State-owned radio and television stations suspended broadcasts after demonstrators took over their headquarters, looting equipment, news reports said.

Protesters also set fire to cars and to the homes of several of Mr. Compaoré’s relatives and advisers, and to the offices of the governing party.

Three motionless bodies were seen in the street near the home of Mr. Compaoré’s brother, Reuters reported, after troops there fired live rounds and used tear gas as a crowd approached.




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  • IstvanIN

    Our future.

  • For a moment there, I thought this was Ferguson.

  • MekongDelta69

    Isn’t Ouagadougou a suburb of DIEtroit?


      I’m pretty sure you’re right Mekong.

    • Adolf Verloc

      Sister city.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Do they chant Ooga-Booga in Ouagadougu?

      • The average daytime temperature in Ouagadougu this time of year is 97F with 52% relative humidity. That would annoy me a tad, as well. The dinner-winner there is August. Only 88F, but 74% humidity and 9 inches of rain. I suspect that would be enough to make me gnaw off my own leg and escape.

  • superlloyd

    Yet another failed African state. How soon before before Burkina Faso becomes the new Eritrea or Somalia and the West is blessed with the presence of many of their intelligent, productive citizens. Got to love the name of the capital pronounced OOGADOOGA,

    • IstvanIN

      Wait until Jewish, Catholic and Lutheran family services starts bringing them in as refugees.

    • Adolf Verloc

      Now, watch that pronunciation! It’s pronounced “wah-gah-DOO-goo.” Again, you can’t make this stuff up.

      • mikekingjr

        Translates as “Town without working toilets, use street.”, I learned in school.

    • Kenner

      Don’t be so hasty. Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, means ‘country of honorable people’, so I expect they’ll live up to their name.
      Sorta like ‘LeGenius Wisdom Williams’.

    • mikekingjr

      Pronunciation close enough.

  • Kenner

    Burkina Faso has a nature reserve adjoining one in Benin. Together they hold almost 200 lions, the last sustainable population in west Africa.
    GoodBye Kitty.

    • bilderbuster

      A sane world would depopulate the area of Africans for the sake of the lion.

  • Which witch doctor in military garb will be the next tribal chief and how many billions of dollars in aid will he steal? I can’t wait for Joe Biden to utter some nonsense about Burkina Faso. He probably thinks it’s in Central America and it’s one of America’s staunchest allies.

  • JohnEngelman

    I had never heard of Burkina Faso before. I was not surprised to learn which continent it is on.

    • MBlanc46

      It used to be called Upper Volta. You should update your maps.

      • IstvanIN

        That I have heard of! Africans and their ever changing country names.

    • rightrightright

      Me neither. Am I the only person who instinctively reads that name as Burkina Fatso then has to go back and self-correct, thus tediously reading it twice?

    • According to Wikipedia, it was rated as the 111th safest destination for foreign investment in 2011. In that year, the economy also contracted by almost 75%. Not really a surprise. In 2011 there was also an army mutiny.

    • Anglo

      I had not heard of Burkina Faso either. The chaos in Africa is too much to stay abreast of changes.

  • MBlanc46

    Another day in a black-run country.

  • PesachPatriot

    Not sure if the picture is florissant avenue in ferguson missouri or somewhere in west africa…I bet the new government of burkina faso will be totally transparent and corruption free….

  • Bill Moore


    Notice that the NY Times article does not allow comments on the article.Link here:

    I believe that the NY Times has learned that the comments that they receive on some of their articles do not comply with their anti-white agenda.

    Just My Thoughts,
    Bill Moore

    • For some reason for the past 6 months or so, non of the MSM sites have been allowing comments. Sometimes you’ll see one open briefly and pick up a few comments but then it’ll be “Closed to Comments” virtually all the time. I wonder why?

      • Bill Moore

        Hello Claudius_II,

        It’s their way of saying, “SHUT UP!”.

        Thank you,
        Bill Moore

  • Cid Campeador

    Typical. No surprise here. What? No Raping!

  • MBlanc46

    Rioting. Looting. Burning. Sound like anyplace you can think of in the US?

  • RealisticGuy

    Hey, you’ve got to hand it to them, they are willing to put themselves on the line against their government.

    Can’t see Europeans anywhere doing that.

    • Robert Fanshaw

      This is the best comment so far.