News / Africa

Burkina Faso Capital Calm After Overnight Curfew

Anti-riot gendarmes prepare during a demonstration by some 300 shopkeepers near the Ouagadougou
Anti-riot gendarmes prepare during a demonstration by some 300 shopkeepers near the Ouagadougou "Rood Wooko" great market, Burkina Faso, April 16, 2011

Burkina Faso's capital is quiet Sunday after an overnight curfew that followed an army mutiny. 

Few shops were open in Burkina Faso's capital, but cars and motorbikes returned to the streets after President Blaise Compaore's government imposed an overnight curfew when merchants rioted because mutinous soldiers looted their shops.

The traders set fire to ruling party headquarters Saturday in the capital Ouagadougou, and ransacked the National Assembly to protest what they say is the government's failure to stop mutinous soldiers from looting their stores.

President Compaore dissolved his government Friday and dismissed his head of presidential security after soldiers at the presidential palace fired heavy weapons in the air demanding the payment of allowances. They then set fire to the home of President Compaore's chief of staff.

Tens of thousands of people marched Thursday in the capital to protest the high cost of living in demonstrations that were joined in at least 10 other towns.

France is warning its citizens against travel to Burkina Faso, saying the situation is tense because of the soldiers' protest and warning that travelers face an increased risk of robbery and kidnapping.

President Compaore came to power in a 1987 coup. He has been re-elected four times, most recently last November.

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