Hundreds of people protested against France in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, the latest manifestation of the West African country’s rising anti-French attitude. Hundreds gathered in central Ouagadougou on Friday, chanting anti-France slogans and carrying placards demanding for the French army to “go out”.
Burkina Faso’s relations with its former coloniser have deteriorated following two military coups last year, which were fueled in part by authorities’ failure to protect civilians from terrorist activity in the north.
Some of the frustration stems from concerns that France’s military presence in Burkina Faso hasn’t improved security. According to reports, the protest was mostly peaceful and ended without incident.
Previously, angry mobs attacked the French embassy, cultural centre, and military post. Burkina Faso’s military government has likewise been at conflict with France since overthrowing the previous junta in a September coup. Authorities halted the broadcast of France’s RFI radio in December due to allegations that they claimed gave voice to militants. The administration demanded the replacement of France’s ambassador earlier this month.
France has 400 special forces in Burkina Faso to assist local forces in combating the insurgency that has swept across the Sahel from Mali over the last decade. Thousands of people have been killed, and over 2 million have been displaced. Food insecurity in the region has been compounded by the conflict.
Authorities in Burkina Faso are still looking for more than 60 women who were abducted by armed gunmen last week. Relations between Paris and Bamako have also deteriorated since the August 2020 military coup. France announced its troop pullout from the country in February 2022.
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