Violent protests in Burkina Faso

The president of Burkina Faso has declared a state of emergency following violent protests in the capital, a spokesman said.

Communications director Ibrahim Sakande made the announcement hours after demonstrators stormed the parliament building in Ouagadougou and set fire to its main chamber.

It was not immediately clear where President Blaise Compaore was, nor what restrictions were being imposed as a result of the state of emergency.

The protesters were angered by a parliamentary vote which they thought was going to give Compaore, who has been in power for 27 years, the chance to run for a fifth term next year. The vote did not take place but that did little to calm tensions.

Crowds also attacked the homes of government ministers and looted shops in the country’s second- largest city. The violent opposition underscored the threat Mr Compaore now faces as frustrations mount in one of the world’s poorest countries.

“It is over for the regime” and “we do not want him again” shouted demonstrators when they heard that the vote on term limits had been stopped.

Flames enveloped the main building in the parliament complex, and many politicians fled to a nearby hotel.

“It is difficult to say what happens next, but things are out of control because the demonstrators do not listen to anyone,” said Ablasse Ouedraogo, an opposition politician.

Burkina Faso has long been known for its relative stability in volatile West Africa.


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