Opposition demand Compaore step down

2011-04-30 22:48

Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso opposition parties on Saturday demanded long-serving President Blaise Compaore step down, blaming him for provoking a wave of violence in the West African nation.

Soldiers have ransacked shops and fired weapons during months of demonstrations over poor living conditions.

Civilians have also taken to the streets in the usually placid country over rising food and fuel prices.

"Our country is in crisis, a deep crisis and we think that Blaise Compaore is the cause of this crisis," the leader of the opposition Socialist Front Forces, Norbert Tiendrebeogo, told a meeting of 34 opposition parties in the capital Ouagadougou.

"That is why we are saying he is the problem and the solution is his departure," Tiendrebeogo said.

The parties put out a joint statement calling on Compaore to quit.

Compaore, a former army captain, seized power in the cotton and gold producer nation in a 1987 coup.

He has since faced little effective opposition and won the last two elections in 2005 and 2010 with an overwhelming majority.

Compaore this month replaced the government and the head of the armed forces and went on to nominate himself Minister of Defence.

The president on Friday said government soldiers had promised to end the violent protests.