Protesters Clash Outside Hotel in Burkina Faso Where Mediators Gather Following Coup

Tires burn in the background as people protest against the recent coup in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 19, 2015.
Tires burn in the background as people protest against the recent coup in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 19, 2015.

Violence broke out at the main hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital on Sunday where talks were taking place with regional mediators as demonstrators opposed to last week’s coup clashed with supporters of the military.

The clashes erupted as crowds in front of the hotel awaited news of the talks. Late Saturday, mediators hinted at a breakthrough, saying they would wait to make an announcement on Sunday.

Tensions have been high since members of an elite presidential guard arrested the country’s interim president and prime minister on Wednesday, less than a month before national elections were due to be held. Hours later, a lieutenant colonel took to the airwaves to say that the transitional government had been dissolved.

The African Union swiftly suspended Burkina Faso, and the United States, France and others sharply condemned the military power grab.

In the crowds on Sunday, many also expressed their anger at the coup and the leader installed by the military, Gen. Gilbert Diendere.

“No to Diendere! No to military rule!” some shouted, while others vowed their support for the new regime.

In an unusual twist, it was pro-Diendere soldiers who protected two opposition leaders from an angry mob that had tried to stop them from entering the hotel for talks.

At least 10 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations in recent days, a worker at the Yalgado Ouedraogo Hospital in Ouagadougou said Saturday. The worker spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Protesters in Burkina Faso late last year forced President Blaise Compaore from office after 27 years in power.

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Associated Press journalist Ludivine Laniepce contributed to this report.

SOURCE: AP

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