Demonstrations planned for Saturday prohibited for ‘security reasons’; last protest in November turned violent.
By Faith Barbara Namagembe Updated at 0848 EAT On 21 Jan 2022.
Authorities in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, have banned an anti-government protest planned for Saturday, two months after another rally turned violent.
The demonstration, called by a civil society movement called Sauvons le Burkina (Save Burkina), was prohibited for “security reasons”, Christian Charles Rouamba, municipal secretary, said in a letter on Thursday.
The same group had staged another banned protest in late November 2021 against the failure of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore’s government to stop attacks by armed groups affiliated with ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Hundreds of demonstrators defied the ban to take to Ouagadougou’s streets on November 27 and about a dozen people were injured in clashes with security forces.
A separate demonstration also planned for Saturday in support of neighbouring Mali, whose military government is under sanctions imposed by the regional bloc the Economic Community of African States, was also banned.
Two officials of the Coalition of African Patriots-Burkina Faso, which had called the rally, were arrested on Thursday, the group said.
Burkina Faso’s government has come under sustained pressure over failures to stem the bloodshed of the brutal six-year conflict which has killed some 2,000 people, forced 1.4 million from their homes and spawned an immense humanitarian crisis.
The worsening security situation has led to street protests calling for Kabore to step down.
Following waves of protests, Kabore last month replaced the entire government and named Lassina Zerbo as the country’s new prime minister, the latest upheaval in a leadership shake-up that has included military top brass and heads of intelligence agencies.
Earlier in January, Burkinabe authorities arrested eight soldiers, including a high-ranking commander, in connection with an alleged plot to “destabilise” the country’s institutions.