Burkina Faso. The first half of Burkina Faso was characterized by popular protests, mutiny among soldiers and political unrest. According to political analysts, this was President Blaise Compaorés’s biggest challenge to date since taking power in a coup in 1987.
In February, students began demonstrating with demands for improvements in the education system. Some students were arrested and later that month one of them died in the detention center. The students accused the police of causing the student’s death and the previously limited student demonstrations turned into violent protests. Government buildings are on fire and six students died during the riots.
On April 14, tens of thousands of people walked the streets in protest of increased food prices and rising living costs. The high food prices were a result of the conflicts in neighboring Ivory Coast. In ordinary cases, the Ivory Coast is an important trading center in the region, but the conflicts in the country have reduced the transport of goods, which has hit Burkina Faso’s economy hard.
On the night of April 15, a group of army soldiers mutated because they were unhappy that they had not received promised housing grants. Some of the insurgents came from President Compaore’s own guard force. Compaoré dismissed the head of the presidential guard, as did the army chief and the entire government. The myth nevertheless spread to more military facilities in the capital Ouagadougou and in three other cities. The soldiers shot in the air at the presidential palace and a few days later some police officers also participated in the protests.
According to Countryaah official site, President Compaoré introduced a nightly curfew and again promised contributions to the soldiers. To try to gain control of the army and defeat the protests, he himself took up the post of Minister of Defense on April 18. On the same day, he appointed Luc Adolph Tiao, a diplomat and journalist with no previous government experience, as new prime minister.
Despite this, the protests against the economic situation in the country continued. Several police officers participated and also shop owners and farmers. In addition, teachers began to strike for higher wages. They were supported by thousands of students who participated in violent protests in several cities. At the end of May, the government agreed to give teachers higher compensation and the teachers’ strike ended. The soldiers continued to protest. They raided department stores and shoots, especially in the country’s economic capital Bobo-Dioulasso. In early June, elite forces were deployed and the uprising stopped. At least seven people were killed in the fighting that broke out and about 90 soldiers were arrested for involvement in the uprising.
At the end of August, three police officers were sentenced to long prison terms for their involvement in the case of the student who died in the February detention.