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Burkina Faso declares state of emergency

Burkina Faso army has announced emergency measures – including the formation of a transitional government – after a day of violent protests.

Protesters angered by President Blaise Compaore’s bid to extend his 27-year rule earlier set fire to parliament and government buildings.

Protesters in the capital, Ouagadougou, are calling for Blaise Campaore to resign.

The emergency moves announced by army chief General Honore Traore did not say who would lead the interim administration.

At a press conference, General Honore Traore declared the imposition of an overnight curfew, as well as the dissolution of parliament.

He announced that a “transitional body [would] be put in place in consultation with all parties”.

“A return to the constitutional order is expected in no more than 12 months,” he said.

Earlier, President Blaise Compaore issued a statement, declaring the emergency and saying that the head of the armed forces was in charge of implementing the decision.

Burkina Faso army has announced emergency measures after a day of violent protests

Burkina Faso army has announced emergency measures after a day of violent protests

The protests in the capital – the most serious yet against Blaise Compaore’s rule – forced lawmakers to abandon a vote aimed at allowing the president to seek re-election in 2015.

The main opposition leader, Zephirin Diabre, told a local radio station the state of emergency was unacceptable.

“We are calling on the people to show that they are against it,” he was quoted as saying.

“The resignation of President Blaise Compaore is the only thing that can bring peace to the country.”

Zephirin Diabre said dozens of protesters had been killed across the country by the security forces.

Protesters also surged towards the presidential palace, and a government helicopter flying overhead fired tear gas at them, Reuters news agency reports.

Witnesses say dozens of soldiers have joined the protest in Ouagadougou’s main square, including a former defense minister, General Kouame Lougue.

The city hall, the homes of MPs, and an upmarket hotel in Ouagadougou were also set ablaze.

Similar protests hit the south-western city of Bobo Dioulasso, and other towns in the poor West African state.

State television went off air after protesters stormed the building housing it and ransacked it.

“A state of emergency is declared across the national territory,” the president’s statement said, as quoted by Reuters.

“The chief of the armed forces is in charge of implementing this decision which enters into effect today.

“I dissolve the government from today so as to create conditions for change. I’m calling on the leaders of the political opposition to put an end to the protests. I’m pledging from today to open talks with all the actors to end the crisis.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, will fly to Burkina Faso on October 31 in an attempt to ease the crisis, the UN said in a statement.

Blaise Compaore first took power in a coup in 1987, and has won four disputed elections since then.

The protests forced the government to suspend Thursday’s parliamentary vote on a constitutional amendment that would have lifted the limit on presidential terms so that Blaise Compaore could run for office again in 2015.

Blaise Compaore is a staunch ally of the US and France, which uses Burkina Faso as a base for military operations against militant Islamists in the Sahel region.

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.