(Reuters) – Burkina Faso’s army cleared thousands of protesters from the capital and opened fire at state TV headquarters on Sunday, killing one person, as it sought to restore order following the resignation of President Blaise Compaore two days ago.
Compaore’s 27 years in charge of the landlocked former French colony ended abruptly on Friday after two days of mass protests aimed at thwarting his bid to change the constitution to extend his rule.
The army then selected Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida as transitional leader, overriding an earlier claim by the army chief of staff.
But on Sunday there were signs of discontent with the appointment as thousands gathered in the capital Ouagadougou to demand a return to civilian rule, in line with the West African country’s constitution.
Witnesses said prominent opposition leader Saran Sereme and an army general, along with a crowd of their supporters, headed to the RTB Television site on Sunday afternoon to declare themselves in charge of the transition but were thwarted by the army. Sereme denied this on local news website Burkina 24, saying she was brought to the station by force.
Gunshots rang out at the station and the channel was taken off the air for several hours. One person in the crowd was killed, an army spokesman said, calling for calm.
“The army does not want power. But the anarchy needs to stop. Any violation will be punished with the utmost energy,” said Auguste Barry, referring to the incident at the television station earlier in the day.
Shortly afterwards, presidential guards moved in to prevent access to Ouagadougou’s central Place de la Nation, the site of violent demonstrations against Compaore last week in which three people were killed and the parliament set ablaze.