Burkina Faso’s Military Coup is Met with Public Celebrations


In the past two years, four nations in West Africa have seen successful military coup d’etats. What’s even stranger than the frequency of these coups are the masses of public support seen afterward. What caused the recent Burkina Faso military coup, and why were the citizens so eager to support it?

The Burkina Faso military coup comes after months of anti-government protests. Former President Kaboré faced heavy public criticism after his government failed to control a series of Islamist militant attacks beginning in 2015. The attacks emerged from the neighboring West African nations of Mali and Niger, bringing about terror as many in Burkina Faso faced murders, kidnappings, lootings, and other terrorism-related violence. Citizens looked to the government to offer protection and retaliation against these attacks but were instead met by a lack of action. Frustrated and wanting change, many took to the streets to protest. On January 21st, Burkina Faso’s capital authorities banned some of these anti-government protests for “security reasons.” However, this did not stop protesters as incidents broke out in Ouagadougou, the nation’s capital the following day.

Burkina Faso citizens celebrate the overthrow of President Kaboré in nation’s captial.

On the night of January 23rd, gunfire rang from military camps out in Burkina Faso as soldiers rebelled against government authorities and protestors took to the streets. President Kaboré called for calm and denied claims that the military had seized power. The next day, President Kaboré and his government were overthrown. Public celebrations commenced with several hundred people gathering in Ouagadougou. One among the celebrations claimed, “As far as we’re concerned, it’s not a coup. It’s the liberation of a county, which was being governed by people who were incompetent.” Not all have met the coup with the same enthusiasm, with powers such as France, the United Nations, and the African Union condemning the power takeover.

The military regime has stated that the Burkina Faso constitution has been suspended and the National Assembly dissolved, with plans to establish elections that are “acceptable to everyone.” Only time will tell whether the Burkina Faso military will stay in power, but as for now, hundreds of Burkina Faso citizens celebrate as they find themselves “heard and understood” by their new governing power.