Burkina Faso: State of emergency called by president

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Burkina Faso: State of emergency called by president

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The President of Burkina Faso has reportedly called a state of emergency in the country, dissolved the government and offered to open talks with the opposition.

Blaise Compaore’s statement, read by a presenter on a local radio station, follows a day of unrest in which thousands of protesters marched on Burkina Faso’s presidential palace after earlier burning the parliament building and ransacking the country’s state television offices.

Three protesters are said to have been killed and scores more injured as a large crowd tried to storm the home of the president’s brother and overran several official buildings in the capital Ouagadougou.

The demonstrations began over plans to vote on Thursday on a government motion to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore- who has ruled since a coup in 1987 – to stand for re-election.

Earlier, state television read a statement saying “the government had dropped the motion to change the constitution.”

The president’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Meanwhile, the military command has reportedly announced it would issue a statement.

Opposition leaders have said they had held talks with a retired general and former defence minister about forming a transitional government.

France and the United States, both allies of Burkina Faso in their fight against al Qaeda-linked groups in West Africa, have called for an end to the violence.