Burkina Faso protesters burn tyres amid post-coup talks

2015-09-19 19:20
A protestor in the Burkina Faso capital. (Theo Renaut, AP)

A protestor in the Burkina Faso capital. (Theo Renaut, AP)

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Ouagadougou - Anti-coup demonstrators burned tyres at roadblocks in Burkina Faso's capital on Saturday as West African mediators continued pursuing a negotiated resolution to the country's political crisis following the toppling of the transitional government earlier this week.

North of the city centre, smoke rose from barricades where crowds chanted slogans denouncing General Gilbert Diendere, who was named leader of Burkina Faso on Thursday after members of the elite Presidential Security Regiment stormed a government meeting and detained the acting president and prime minister.

Soldiers from the regiment fired on protests after the coup was announced, killing at least six people, but they had little presence on the streets of Ouagadougou on Saturday, emboldening demonstrators who cried out "Homeland or death!"

The coup derailed a yearlong transition process that followed the fall of longtime President Blaise Compaore during a popular uprising last October.

Elections were supposed to be held on October 11, but Diendere, a former top Compaore aide, has said that date is too soon.

Macky Sall, president of Senegal and acting chairperson of the regional Ecowas body, continued meeting with allies and opponents of the Compaore regime. He was joined by Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi.

But on Friday night, after a full day of talks, he noted that the camps showed little will to negotiate.

"There is a critical lack of dialogue among actors, and this will negatively affect national unity and cohesion," Sall warned.

Transition officials have insisted the junta must go.

"The mediators are here to help us find a compromise, but there are things that are non-negotiable," said transitional lawmaker Jean Hobert Bazie, who joined other lawmakers in calling for the return of transitional leader Michel Kafando, who was released from military custody on Friday.

The coup has been condemned by former colonial power France, the United States, the United Nations and the African Union, which suspended the country on Friday.

Read more on:    burkina faso  |  west africa

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