Protests in Burkina FasoNovember 3, 2014 in Burkina Faso
On Sunday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital city, rallying against the military’s take over. Both the United Nations and the African Union have rejected the military’s takeover, stating military leader’s now in control must hand power to a civilian transitional government or they may face sanctions.
During the early morning hours on Sunday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ouagadougou, gathering at the Place de la Nation. While early morning demonstrations appeared calm, by afternoon, reports surfaced of violent clashes between demonstrators and soldiers. Reports have indicated that the country’s national broadcaster, RTB, has gone off air after shots were heard at its headquarters. Witnesses near the scene reported seeing soldiers firing into the air to disperse protesters before forcing journalist to flee. Unconfirmed reports have indicated that crowds had gathered at the state TV headquarters after rumours spread that a popular leader was about to announce that she was willing to lead the transition. Soldiers have since taken over the Place de la Nation, where they have removed thousands of protesters and set up barricades.
Under Burkina Faso’s constitution, the speaker of parliament is supposed to step in as interim head of state following the president’s resignation. However on Friday, the army named second-in-command of the presidential guard, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, as head of the transitional authority. The opposition, and international mediators, are now calling for the army to step down and to allow a civilian transfer of power, warning that if these conditions are not met, sanctions may be imposed.
Former president Blaise Compaore and his wife have taken refuge in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.
The situation remains fluid and it is currently unclear when order will be restored. MS Risk advises all travellers in Burkina Faso to be aware of the following:
- A curfew may be imposed later today as attempts are made to restore order. If a curfew is announced, MS Risk advises all travellers to adhere to the curfew hours.
- Protests will likely be called by the opposition over the coming days in a bid to place further pressure on the army to allow a civilian transfer of power. Security forces will likely be deployed across the capital city, especially at government buildings, state TV headquarters and the army’s headquarters. MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid these areas of the capital city and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. We also advise that you stay away from demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent with minimal notice.
- Although Ouagadougou International Airport is currently open, with officials indicating that services should return to normal within the next 24 – 48 hours, given the new wave of demonstrations, officials may opt to close the airport or reduce service in the coming days.
- The government may impose restrictions on travel over the coming days, and may set up roadblocks across the country. You should be aware that illegal roadblocks may also be set up.
- There is a potential for reduced availability in stores and petrol stations while any supply chain interruptions are sorted.
For up to date information on the current situation in Burkina Faso, follow us on @MSRisk_Security or visit our website: www.msrisk.com