Pro-Russia demonstrators rally in Burkina after coup

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Several dozen protestors waving Russian flags rallied in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Tuesday as West African delegates arrived on a fact-finding mission following the country’s second coup in less than nine months.

Demonstrators chanted support for Russia, called on France to leave the country and warned ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — against “meddling”, an AFP journalist saw.

The dramatic takeover coincided with violent anti-French protests and the emergence of Russian flags among demonstrators, stoking speculation that Traore may follow other regimes in French-speaking Africa and forge close ties with Moscow at France’s expense.

The bloc, designed to promote democracy in one of the world’s most volatile regions, has witnessed five coups among three of its 15 members in little more than two years.

But it has also taken flak, with some critics accusing it of supporting Western, or specifically French, interests.

He said he had learned “with astonishment and regret” that messages had circulated on social media “calling for this mission to be hampered” and urged calm and restraint.

The ECOWAS visit to Ouagadougou is headed by Guinea-Bissau Foreign Minister Suzi Carla Barbosa, whose country currently chairs the bloc, and includes former Niger president Mahamadou Issoufou, who is the mediator for Burkina Faso.

Landlocked and deeply poor, Burkina Faso has experienced little political stability since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Thousands of civilians, troops and police officers have been killed and nearly two million people have fled their homes.

Appointing himself transitional head of state, Damiba vowed to make security the country’s top priority but after a brief lull the attacks revived, claiming hundreds of lives.

Damiba fled to the neighbouring state of Togo on Sunday following a two-day standoff that was defused by religious and community leaders.

He said that he would simply carry out “day-to-day business” until a new civilian or military transitional president was appointed by a national forum gathering political and social representatives.

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Originally published as Pro-Russia demonstrators rally in Burkina after coup


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