Following the coup d’etat on Friday, aggrieved protesters were chanting anti-France slogans as they attacked the French embassy in Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital on Saturday.
Their demonstrations were in support of the country’s new military leader, Ibrahim Traore who ousted the erstwhile interim president Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
Traore had accused France of harbouring Damiba as the whereabouts of the latter were uncertain while the protest went on.
However, French authorities have denied any involvement and condemned the violence.
According to Africa News, reacting to the protest in a statement, France said the security of its compatriots was its priority following the military coup.
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“We don’t want France anymore. We no longer want France to be in Africa. “Down with France,” protesters chanted.
Some added: “We call on Russia and suggested Russian intervention was preferable to any involvement by their former colonisers.”
One demonstrator said: “We want frank cooperation with Russia. That’s why we hold the three flags. The Russian, Malian and Burkinabe flags.”
Another explained: “Damiba has failed and the people are not happy. And we are indeed going out today to show the whole world that we do not want this man anymore.
“At the moment, we have very seasoned soldiers who have taken power and we will support them until terrorism is driven out of our country.”
Damiba had promised to challenge jihadist violence but critics accused him of being too close to France which maintains a military presence in the region.
French spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre condemned the violence against the embassy and said the protests were “the work of hostile demonstrators, manipulated by a campaign of disinformation against us.”
She added: “Our nationals have been instructed to exercise the utmost vigilance and to remain at home.”
Comoros ex-president Sambi jailed for life for ‘high treason’
A court in the Comoros on Monday handed down a life sentence for high treason to ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, who was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf.
Sambi, 64, an arch-rival of President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by the State Security Court, a special judicial body whose rulings cannot be appealed.
“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid told the court last week as he requested a life sentence.
Sambi, who led the small Indian Ocean archipelago between 2006 and 2011, pushed through a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports for high fees.
The scheme aimed at the so-called bidoon — an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship.
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The former president was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the scheme.
The prosecution said the cost was more than $1.8 billion — more than the impoverished nation’s GDP.
“They gave thugs the right to sell Comorian nationality as if they were selling peanuts,” said Eric Emmanuel Sossa, a lawyer for civilian plaintiffs.
But Sambi’s French lawyer Jean-Gilles Halimi said “no evidence” of missing money or bank accounts had been put forward to suggest a crime.
Sambi refused to attend the trial after a brief appearance at the first hearing, as his lawyers said there were no guarantees he would be judged fairly.
He was originally prosecuted for corruption, but the charges were reclassified as high treason, a crime that “does not exist in Comorian law,” Halimi said.
Sambi had already spent four years behind bars before he faced trial, far exceeding the maximum eight months. He was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.
UK university workers begin strike over ‘falling pay, brutal workloads’
Thousands of university and college staff in the United Kingdom, including lecturers, librarians and researchers, have declared a strike to demand pay increase and improved working conditions.
The University and College Union (UCU), the UK trade union for university staff, said the strike, referred to as the biggest in decades, is to improve quality in the education sector.
The UCU “represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians, technicians, professional staff and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK”.
“This is the biggest week in our history. Every single university takes strike action on Thursday and Friday. We need every member, student and supporter on our picket lines on Thursday to show the employers that this time is different,” the union said in a statement.
Announcing the strike on Wednesday, Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary, warned of a “bigger action” unless employers improved their offers.
“Staff are burnt out but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill,” she said.
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“Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector. Students are standing with staff because they know this can’t go on.”
The strike, which began on Thursday, will also hold on November 25 and November 30.
Commenting on the development on Thursday, Grady expressed satisfaction with the turnout of university staff.
“Today’s picket lines are huge. 70,000 university staff have turned out like never before, defying bullying tactics from management to show they will no longer accept falling pay, pension cuts, brutal workloads and gig-economy working conditions,” she was quoted as saying, according to UCL.
“If vice-chancellors doubted the determination of university staff to save our sector, then today has been a rude awakening for them.”
The strike has affected over 2.5 million students, some of who are standing in solidarity with their lecturers.
Lawyers, nurses, postal workers and many others have also protested to seek pay rises that match the soaring inflation in the country.
The latest protests come after the UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers announced on Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the festive season.
The union said members will have demonstrations for four days from December 13 and in the first week of January.
The UK has been battling difficult economic situations due to surging energy costs arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Earlier in August, the Bank of England warned that inflation would climb to just over 13 percent in 2022.
It also projected that the country would enter a recession from the fourth quarter of 2022 until late 2023.
In November, the country’s inflation rate jumped in the last 12 months to 11.1 percent in October — up by one percent from August’s inflation rate.
Gunman kills 10 in US Walmart store
A gunman has killed up to 10 people in a Walmart superstore in Chesapeake, in the US state of Virginia, police say.
Reports say the man, a store manager, opened fire then turned the gun on himself and is now dead.
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The City of Chesapeake tweeted “police confirm an active shooter incident with fatalities at the Walmart”.
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