The defence forces have been trying to disperse the protesters

Burkina Faso president declares state of emergency

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore has imposed a state of emergency to end violent protests against his 27-year rule.

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The government has also been dissolved, a statement signed by Mr Compaore said.

Mass protests against his rule are continuing in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Angry crowds had earlier set fire to parliament and other government buildings, forcing MPs to abandon a vote aimed at allowing Mr Compaore to seek re-election in 2015.

Protesters have converged on the main square in Ouagadougou, demanding Mr Compaore's immediate resignation.
'Soldiers join protest'

At least one person has been killed in the protests, says BBC Afrique's Yacouba Ouedraogo in the capital.

The military fired live bullets as protesters stormed parliament, our correspondent says.

Witnesses say dozens of soldiers have joined the protests, including a former defence minister, Gen Kouame Lougue.

Protesters are demanding his installation as president, our reporter says.

The city hall and the homes of MPs in Ouagadougou were also set ablaze.

Similar protests hit the south-western city of Bobo Dioulasso, and other towns in the poor West African state.

State television went off air after protesters stormed the building housing it and ransacked it.

This is one of the most serious protests against Mr Compaore's rule.

"A state of emergency is declared across the national territory. The chief of the armed forces is in charge of implementing this decision which enters into effect today," the president's statement said.

"I dissolve the government from today so as to create conditions for change. I'm calling on the leaders of the political opposition to put an end to the protests. I'm pledging from today to open talks with all the actors to end the crisis," it added.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon's special envoy for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, will fly to Burkina Faso on Friday in an attempt to ease the crisis, the UN said in a statement.

The main opposition leader, Zephirin Diabre, called on the military to side with "the people" and demanded the president's resignation.

Mr Compaore first took power in a coup in 1987, and has won four disputed elections since then.

He also dissolved the government in 2011 after members of his presidential guard went on an overnight rampage in Ouagadougou to demand more pay.

Mr Compaore briefly fled the city at the time.


Credit: The BBC

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