Police in Burkina Faso fire tear gas to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in the centre of Ouagadougou, according to AFP.
Anti-riot police fired tear gas to prevent the demonstrators from gathering for the rally in a square in the centre of Ouagadougou, where substantial police and security forces had been deployed and all shops closed.
Protesters burned tyres and pillaged a government building in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday after police fired tear gas to disperse a march against the state’s failure to stop a wave of violence by Islamist militants.
Angry youths erected makeshift barricades and burned tyres in several neighbourhoods in an effort to block police movement.
The crowds had wanted to demonstrate against the failure of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to quell jihadist violence that has engulfed the country, but city authorities banned the gathering.
The public’s angry response to the latest attacks has unnerved the authorities, who cut mobile internet access a week ago and refused to authorise Saturday’s demonstration.
Opponents of President Roch Kabore, namely an alliance of three groups called the November 27 Coalition, called for renewed protests on Saturday in response to a recent surge of attacks in the West African country, including one by al-Qaeda-linked fighters that killed 49 military police officers and four civilians.
One of the protesters, 28-year-old Fabrice Sawadogo, said that “after seven years of failure to prevent the terrorist attacks… it is time to ask the government to go.”
The “incompetent” administration “has to admit it has failed,” he said.
However, other civil society groups distanced themselves from the protests, refusing, they said, “to be complicit with those who want to push the country into chaos”.
The United Nations’ special envoy to West Africa said on Thursday he was concerned about the situation in Burkina Faso and warned against any military takeover, following coups in three neighbouring countries over the past year.