Plan proposed for democracy's return in Burkino Faso amid protests

2015-09-21 10:00

Ouagadougou (dpa) - International mediators on Sunday proposed a plan for this central African country to return to democracy, while a large protest amassed outside the hotel where they were meeting.

The mediators, led by Senegalese Preident Macky Sall and his colleague from Benin Thomas Boni Yayi, presented the plan that calls for amnesty for those who had ousted and detained the transitional government on Wednesday.

It would also allow supporters of the long-time president Blaise Compaore to run in the October elections that were intended to restore democratic balance after Compaore had ruled for 27 years - and was run out of the country amid massive protests.

Compaore's supporters had previously been banned from running in the elections.

The two provisions were the key demands of the presidential guard and Campaore loyalists, who had detained transitional government figures under the leadership of Brigadier General Gilbert Diendere.

Outside the Hotel Laico, where the meetings were held, opponents of the coup had called for a large rally. But the presidential guard sealed off the square in front of the hotel and violently dispersed demonstrators who opposed their coup.

Mounting tensions

The hotel was in fact under siege by the presidential guard.

According to reports, there were clashes inside the hotel between the separate fronts. But the US embassy dismissed reports that Ambassador Tulinabo S Mushingi had been injured.

On Saturday, the military council that took power in Burkina Faso appeared willing to allow the return of the transitional government, Boni had said.

But a press conference planned for Sunday was cancelled as mounting tensions undermined diplomatic efforts.

Transitional President Michel Kafando, who was detained by the presidential guard Wednesday before being released two days later, stood beside his Benin counterpart as he made an announcement about the mediation.

It remained unclear when and under what conditions the junta, led by Diendere, a general close to former president Compaore, will hand back power.

The African Union on Thursday threatened Burkina Faso with sanctions unless power was handed over to civilians and an agreement was reached on a transitional period.

Elections in the West African country were originally planned for October 11. They were called after Compaore fled Burkina Faso in October 2014 following massive demonstrations demanding an end to his 27-year rule. Kafando was chosen interim president in November.

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