Serving as President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore managed to hold on to his position in 1991, 1998, 2005 and 2010. It would be his final term where Compaore pushed to change a 2000 amendment which limited terms and term length.
He managed to stay in office since the amendment didn’t take effect until the end of his term. As the 2015 election neared, Compaore would attempt to lift the term limits using another amendment. These actions and parliament’s inability to govern and reign Blaise Compaore, protests kicked off in October 2014. Some military personnel who had enough of the lax governance joined the protests.
The 2014 Burkinabe Uprising
Between October 28 and October 31, people took to the streets with the intent of shutting down parliament. This resulted in many essential services closing up for October 28 but opening their doors on the 29th. With brawls between the people of Ouagadougou–the capital of Burkina Faso–and law enforcement, October 30 was the date to march on the parliament.
October 30 was an intense day during the 2014 Burkinabe Uprising. There were violent clashes between protesters and police where the protesters greatly outnumbered law enforcement. The protesters would set fire to government buildings and documents.
The masses had their eyes on both the President’s palace and the National Assembly building. They managed to storm the Assembly and set fires to parts of the building. Law enforcement managed to hold off the protesters at the presidential palace with rubber bullets.
Three deaths occurred when protesters managed to breach Francois Compaore’s home, resulting in guards firing on them. The official death toll according to state new was five while activist groups said that 30 had been killed. Protests reached neighboring cities where clashes and destruction also took place.
Ultimately, a curfew was enforced.
In Ouagadougou, state radio was targeted with the government broadcaster’s station being protected by soldiers. In moments such as this, state radio and television are one of the important potential targets protected next to the president’s residence and governance halls. Keeping control of state media allows for the releasing of information in either the protesters or government’s favor.
This was especially true as mobile communication services–texting and data–were blocked out by the government. Burkina Faso’s television network couldn’t broadcast since the station was in protesters’ hands. Meanwhile, internet services weren’t restricted.