3 August 2013

Burkina Faso: Another Police Attack On Opposition Protestors in a Month

press release

Photo: Presidence du Burkina Faso
President Blaise Compaore takes the oath of office.

Officers from the Burkinabe Police Unit on July 28, 2013, attacked and fired tear gas at large groups of opposition protestors who were demonstrating against the creation of a second senate in the National Assembly, the country's legislative body.

The police officers in a violent fashion shot tear gas at the protestors, who had massed up on the streets of Koudougou, Ouahigouya and Bobo-Dioulasso, towns south of Ouagadougou, the capital. The protestors had surrounded government offices to register their displeasure about an ongoing election to elect new members to form the second senate.

The opposition supporters are alleging that President Blaise Coampore, who is in his 25th year as Head of State, desires to manipulate the second chamber once it's created, to amend a clause in the Constitution and ultimately extend his stay in power.

The opposition further argues that the creation of a second senate will not only serve the interest of the ruling government but it will also cripple the state's coffers.

This is the second time in a month that the police have fired tear gas to disrupt an opposition demonstration against the creation of the second senate.

On June 29, 2013, police officers fired tear gas and chased the opposition while they were demonstrating in the capital, causing injuries to several citizens and journalists.

The MFWA is alarmed at the recent spate of violent attacks against the opposition who have a constitutional right to peaceful demonstrations. We urge a meeting between the security authorities and the leadership of the opposition groups to dialogue and protect citizen's rights and safety.

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