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Amid Unrest, Burkina Faso President Refuses to Resign

  • VOA News

An army spokesman speaks to anti-government protesters outside military headquarters in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Oct. 30, 2014.

An army spokesman speaks to anti-government protesters outside military headquarters in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Oct. 30, 2014.

Burkina Faso's president has refused to step down, insisting he will stay in power and lead a transitional government that was announced following violent protests.

Hundreds of protesters marched in the capital, Ouagadougou, Friday demanding that Compaore step down, a day after the military dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government.

“We don't want him. We want him out of power. He is not our president,” demonstrator Ouedrago Yakubo told Reuters. The demonstrators gathered at the main Place de la Nation and in front of the army headquarters.

On Thursday, at least three protesters were killed and dozens more injured after hundreds of people stormed parliament and other government buildings in Ouagadougou.

The protesters were upset over a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for another presidential term for President Blaise Compaore, who has been in office since 1987.

Legislation dropped

In a concession to protesters, the government scrapped the proposal. It also lifted a state of emergency that had been declared just hours earlier. The moves have so far failed to satisfy the protesters.

On Thursday, Army chief General Honore Traore dissolved parliament and announced plans for a transitional government that will result in elections within 12 months. He also ordered a curfew to run from dusk until dawn.

Hours later, President Campaore appeared on television to say he was "available to open talks on a transitional period at the end of which I will hand over power to the democratically elected president."

The U.S. State Department welcomed Campaore's decision to withdraw the constitutional amendment. It also praised the formation of a national unity government to prepare for national elections.

It is unclear whether Burkina Faso's opposition parties will agree to join the unity government. Several opposition members have repeated their call for the president to resign immediately.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “is following with great concern the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso” and calling on all parties "to end the use of violence, exercise calm and restraint, and use dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.”

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