Burkina Faso Erupts Over President's 27-Year Rule

Autocratic leader vows to stay on for another year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2014 12:16 AM CDT
Updated Oct 31, 2014 4:00 AM CDT
Government Falls as Burkina Faso Parliament Torched
Cars burn outside the Parliament building in Burkina Faso yesterday.   (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)

After 27 years under the autocratic rule of President Blaise Compaoré, protesters in Burkina Faso have signaled their desire for change by storming the country's Parliament and other government buildings and setting them ablaze. Violence erupted yesterday as lawmakers were set to vote on a bill that would have allowed Compaoré, who seized power in a 1987 coup, to stay on for another three terms, reports the New York Times. The African country's military says the government has been dissolved, according to CNN, but the president says he will stay in charge for a 12-month transitional period before stepping down.

At least three people have been killed in the protests, and there have been reports of demonstrators toppling statues of Compaoré and burning the homes of his relatives. In an address to the nation, the president declared a state of emergency, appealed for calm, and pledged to hold "open talks with all the actors to end the crisis," reports the Guardian. He added that the bill that would have allowed him to stay on has been withdrawn. Compaoré's current whereabouts are unknown, but there have been reports he has fled to Senegal. (More Burkina Faso stories.)

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