Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore has announced his resignation following violent protests over his attempt to extend his 27-year rule. Mr Compaore issued a statement saying the presidency was now vacant and urging elections within 90 days.
Army chief Gen Honore Traore said he had taken over, but it was not clear if he had the backing of all the military. Crowds danced and cheered in the capital, Ouagadougou, after Mr Compaore’s resignation was broadcast.
On Thursday, protesters angry at his attempt to amend the constitution set fire to parliament and government buildings.
There was a euphoric atmosphere in the Place de la Nation as the thousands of protesters heard that Blaise Compaore was no longer their president.
But the crowds have no intention of going home, as they are unhappy that Gen Honore Traore has been appointed as transitional head.
He is seen as too close to the ousted president – he was Blaise Compaore’s aide de camp – and for these demonstrators that is not enough of a rupture with the past.
“This is not a coup – this is a popular uprising,” one man in the crowd said.
Mr Compaore had earlier vowed to remain in power until a transitional government completed its work in 2015, although he had agreed not to seek another term.
However, the opposition continued to demand that he resign – a key leader, Zephirin Diabre, urged protesters to occupy public spaces.
After the resignation, Mr Diabre told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that he was relieved by the resignation and called on opposition groups to “work on the transition to take care of our country”.
It could be a year before elections are held, he said, “because you need to revive the constitution, maybe draw up a new constitution. That would take at least 12 months”.
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