After 27 years as Burkina Faso’s Head of State, Blaise Compaore (pictured) has stepped down from his post in the midst of violent protests that called for his immediate resignation, reports the BBC.
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On Thursday, Army Chief Gen. Honore Traore (pictured below) announced on behalf of President Compaore that he would not run for re-election in 2015 but would remain in his post and create a transitional government that would “be put in place in consultation with all parties.” Traore also announced that Parliament would be dissolved.
But as the public gathered in the streets on Friday, with the energized declaration, “Fulfill your responsibilities or we will do so ourselves,” protestors demanded that the nearly three-decade President step down at once.
Burkina Faso rapper Smockey of the civil society group Le Balai Citoyen told a radio station that the people were “determined once and for all to remove the President.”
In addition, opposition leader Zephirin Diabre said in a released statement that the people should “maintain the pressure by systematically occupying public spaces.
“The opposition has said and will say again that the precondition for any discussion relating to a political transition is the departure, pure and simple and without condition, of Blaise Compaore.”
Face2Face Africa reported on the protests that took a violent turn, when demonstrators set fire to key establishments and ransacked a radio station:
On Thursday, livid protestors in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, set fire to parliament, city hall, and Congress for Democracy and Progress party headquarters, after legislators considered extending presidential term limits for the third time.
State television has gone off air after protesters stormed the building housing it and ransacked it, Reuters quotes a witness as saying.
Smoke could be seen billowing from parliament.
Police had earlier fired tear gas to prevent protesters from moving in on the parliamentary building.
But about 1,500 people managed to breach the security cordon and were ransacking parliament, AFP reports.
Protesters were setting fire to documents and stealing computer equipment and cars outside the building were also set on fire, it reports.
So there were cheers when an army spokesman reportedly delivered the news on Friday that President Compaore had vacated his office, with the following statement:
“In order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace. I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days.”
Meanwhile, Gen. Traore has taken over as head of state and former President Compaore’s location is still unknown.