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2011 Burkinabé protests

2011 Burkinabé protests
Date 22 February 2011 – 9 June 2011
Location  Burkina Faso
Causes Police brutality, high food prices, low wages, economic repression, autocracy
Goals Resignation of President Blaise Compaoré, democratic reforms, higher wages for troops and public servants, economic freedom
Methods Civil resistance, demonstrations, protest marches, rioting, vandalism
Result Some political concessions, with Compaoré continuing in office
Governors replaced, wages for public servants raised
Death(s) 21+
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The 2011 Burkinabé protests were a series of popular protests in Burkina Faso.


  • Background 1
  • Protests 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • References 4


On 15 February soldiers mutinied in the capital Ouagadougou over unpaid housing allowances;[1] President Blaise Compaoré briefly fled the capital and sought safety in his hometown of Ziniaré.[2] By Sunday 17 April, the mutiny had spread to the town of in southern Burkina Faso;[3] there were also protests over a court's decision to sentence several officers to prison sentences.


The mutiny followed popular protests over rising prices in several cities across Burkina Faso,[2] and protests starting 22 February over the death of a student in police custody in February, as well as the shooting of several other protesters. Five student protesters were reportedly killed in February.[4] France24 suggested that Burkina Faso could be caught up in a full-scale uprising similar to that seen in several North African and Middle Eastern countries, proposing the rise of a "Burkinabè Spring".[5]

On 22 April, a coalition of 34 Burkinabè opposition parties called for a rally on 30 April to demand President Compaoré's resignation.[6]

By 27 April, farmers were protesting in Bobo-Dioulasso over low prices and merchants rioted in Koudougou over the closure of 40 shops due to unpaid rent. The house of Koudougou's mayor and its police station were burned.[7] Later, that same evening, riot police joined the widespread mutiny in Ouagadougou.[8]

Four young demonstrators protesting the police mutiny on 28 April were injured when police fired live ammunition to disperse protesters after they torched a police station in Ouagadougou.[9]

On 29 April, President Blaise Compaoré announced he had negotiated with the army and they had agreed to put a stop to the mutinies and protests ravaging the country.[10]

Some 3,000 protesters attended the opposition rally on 30 April in Ouagadougou, which lasted for hours despite the hot weather. Several local pop music stars joined the protest, performing and calling on Compaoré to step down. Several protesters carried signs comparing Compaoré to ousted Tunisian strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled in a January revolution.[11] Bénéwendé Stanislas Sankara, an opposition leader, said the rally was to demonstrate the desire of the Burkinabè people for reforms so that wealth from Burkina Faso's natural resources is distributed more evenly, not just benefiting those who are already rich and powerful.[12]

Health Minister Adama Traoré said on 30 April that six people had died so far as a result of the mutinies, including an 11-year-old reportedly shot and killed while at school.[12]

On 1 May, an affiliation of trade unions and civil servants in Ouagadougou canceled a planned march to commemorate May Day and protest the government due to concerns about bolstered security and the risk of agents provocateurs infiltrating the demonstration.[13]

On 15 May, soldiers fired their guns in the air through the night, apparently to protest the tardiness of reforms and benefits promised to the army rank-and-file.[14]

Three people were reportedly killed and 136 were injured during major daylong protests by students and soldiers in Ouagadougou on 24 May.[15] Students also protested in Gaoua and Bobo-Dioulasso in support of a teachers' strike, torching ruling party offices in Gaoua.[16]

The teachers' union and the government reached an agreement on 25 May, the day after the violent demonstrations, to raise wages in exchange for an end to the strike.[17]

Soldiers mutinied again on 27 May in Tenkodogo and 1 June in Bobo-Dioulasso,[18] among other cities and barracks particularly in eastern and northern Burkina Faso, firing into the air for hours on end in both daytime and nighttime hours. Shooting reportedly quieted in the north by 27 May after continuing throughout the weekend, but it had again spread to other parts of the country by that time.[19]

On 3 June 2011, at least seven people were killed as pro-government forces quelled the protests and mutiny in Bobo-Dioulasso,[20] including a 14-year-old girl. An army spokesman said 109 were detained in the government's strongest effort yet to end the mutiny.[21] Traders upset by mutineers' extensive looting in Bobo-Dioulasso called for the government to offer swift recompense for their losses.[22]

The government said it replaced all 13 regional governors as of 9 June, appointing three army officers among others to replace them in a bid to ease tensions.[23]


With the protests quieted,[24] Reforms Minister Bongnessan Arsene Ye said on 23 June that the government established a 68-member committee to consider changes to the constitution. However, opposition leader Benewende Stanislas Sankara, a key figure in the protest movement, said the opposition had declined to be represented in the committee over concerns that the changes to the constitution would allow President Blaise Compaoré to further extend his term of office rather than creating a more democratic process in Burkina Faso.[25]

In October 2014, protesters rose again to protest President Compaoré's attempt to change the Constitution of Burkina Faso so he could remain in power for another term. They stormed the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, Compaoré's presidential palace, and the state broadcaster's headquarters, among other locations.


  1. ^ "Soldiers go on rampage over pay in Burkina Faso". London: "The Independent". 16 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Compaoré returns to capital after soldiers mutiny". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Soldiers' unrest spreads to S. Burkina Faso".  
  4. ^ "Burkina-Faso : Heurts à Ouagadougou – 11 mars – Le Jura Libertaire". 17 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Capital’s residents remain fearful after soldiers' mutiny". France24. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Burkina opposition calls anti-president demo". The Daily Star. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Taoko, Hervé; Nossiter, Adam (27 April 2011). "Mayor’s Home Burned as Burkina Faso Protests Continue". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Gongo, Simon (28 April 2011). "Burkina Faso Riot Police Join Wave of Protests After Government Dissolved". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Burkinabe police fire on youth protest, four hurt". Mail & Guardian. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Bongkoungou, Mathieu (29 April 2011). "Burkina president says army vows to end protests". Reuters. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Nossiter, Adam (30 April 2011). "Protesters Demand President’s Ouster in Burkina Faso". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Gongo, Simon (30 April 2011). "Burkina Faso Opposition Supporters Protest Higher Cost of Living". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Burkina Faso unions cancel march over violence fears". 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Advisors, Damina (20 May 2011). "Army mutiny metastasizes in Burkina Faso". Energy & Corporate Africa. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Gongo, Simon (25 May 2011). "Three Killed, 136 Injured in Burkina Faso Protest, Fasozine Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Gongo, Simon (25 May 2011). "Burkina Faso Troops Resume Protests, Fire Shots in Air and Block Streets". Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  17. ^ "Burkina Faso teachers' strike: Union agrees deal". BBC News. 25 May 2011. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  18. ^ Gongo, Simon (2 June 2011). "Burkina Faso Soldiers Protest, Fire Shots and Loot Shops in Bobo Dioulasso". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Gunfire reported in east, north Burkina Faso as soldiers protest in latest episode of unrest". The Washington Post. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Burkina Faso: Bloody end to Bobo Dioulasso mutiny". BBC News. 4 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Burkina Faso arrests 109 after munity: officer". Modern Ghana. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Bobo-Dioulasso traders ask for quick compensation". African Manager. 7 June 2011. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "Burkina Faso government replaces its governors". Taiwan News. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  24. ^ Thurston, Alex (30 June 2011). "African incumbents face public anger in upcoming votes". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Gongo, Simon (24 June 2011). "Burkina Faso Is Considering Changing Constitution After Mutinies, Protests". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
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