Burkina Faso demonstrators protest proposed compromise deal

AP News
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Posted: Sep 21, 2015 10:43 AM
Burkina Faso demonstrators protest proposed compromise deal

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Demonstrators took to the streets of Burkina Faso's capital Monday, burning tires to protest a proposed compromise solution to the country's deepening political crisis as tensions mounted over military rule.

Regional mediators spent the weekend trying to broker a compromise between the junta that seized power in a coup last week and other politicians in this West African country. They announced a plan late Sunday that calls for new elections by the end of November.

However, the general now in charge of Burkina Faso did not attend the news conference where the draft agreement was read aloud and it was unclear whether he would abide by the plan that calls for him to step aside until the elections can be organized.

In a concession to Gen. Gilbert Diendere and his supporters, the plan would allow loyalists of the former longtime president to take part in the vote. One of the chief reasons cited for the coup was that an electoral code approved earlier this year banned members of the former ruling party from running for office.

Blaise Compaore served as president for 27 years, and his bid to further extend his rule prompted massive street protests and eventually led to his ouster.

The streets of Ouagadougou remained tense Monday, with gas stations, banks and shops still closed following last week's military power grab. Many demonstrators said the compromise plan was too lenient on the junta. "We want Burkina Faso to be free!!" one demonstrator shouted.

"One man cannot be allowed to take the whole country hostage," another unnamed protester shouted.

The plan drafted by mediators will go before the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS in Nigeria on Tuesday. Under that plan, Diendere would step aside and the interim president he overthrew would be reinstalled until the vote.

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Associated Press journalist Ludivine Laniepce contributed to this report.