Burkina opposition rejects state of emergency, intl organisations call to end violence

Ahram Online, Thursday 30 Oct 2014

Burkina Faso opposition leader Zephirin Diabre rejected a state of emergency ordered by President Blaise Compaore

Burkina Faso opposition leader Zephirin Diabre rejected a state of emergency ordered by President Blaise Compaore and said the West African leader's resignation was the only solution to the country's crisis, Reuters reported.

Diabre called on supporters to show that they were against the state of emergency announced after thousands of protesters stormed parliament and state television, forcing the government to abandon plans to change the constitution to allow Compaore to stand for re-election next year.

"The state of emergency is unacceptable. We are calling on the people to show that they are against it," he told Radio Omega, a local broadcaster. "The resignation of President Blaise Compaore is the only thing that can bring peace to the country."

The European Union called for an end to violence in Burkina Faso, according to AFP. In its statement on Thursday the EU "calls upon all parties to refrain from the use of violence and engage rapidly in a constructive dialogue."

Meanwhile, the African Union on Thursday voiced "deep concern" over the violence in Burkina Faso and said it was sending a high-level delegation to the country.

AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma "has expressed deep concern about the unfolding situation in Burkina Faso and is following its evolution very closely," the African bloc said in a statement.

Dlamini-Zuma urged calm and utmost restraint from all the parties concerned, calling on the Burkinabe political actors and people to refrain from all acts of violence and act in the supreme interest of their country.

The AU said it had sent "a high-level team that will form part of a joint delegation comprising the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations to Burkina Faso to consult with all the Burkinabe stakeholders."

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has dispatched UN special envoy for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas envoy to Burkina Faso, the UN said in a statement.

The statement also assured "the people of Burkina Faso of the unflinching support of the AU, as they look for political solutions to the current difficulties facing their country."

Compaore declared state of emergency and pledged to open talks with the opposition in a bid to defuse protests sparked by his attempt to extend his 27-year rule, Reuters reported, citing local radio.

Angry protesters went on a rampage in Burkina Faso on Thursday against plans to extend Compaore's rule, setting parliament on fire, breaking into national television station and wreaking havoc across the capital.

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