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Opposition protesters attacked by police in Burkina Faso

On 28 July 2013, officers from the Burkinabe Police Unit attacked and fired teargas at large groups of opposition protesters who were demonstrating against the creation of a second senate in the National Assembly, the country's legislative body.

Police officers violently shot teargas at the protesters, who had gathered on the streets of Koudougou, Ouahigouya and Bobo-Dioulasso – towns located south of Ouagadougou, the capital. The protesters had surrounded government offices to register their displeasure about an ongoing election to elect new members to form the second senate.

Opposition supporters allege that President Blaise Coampore, who is in his 25th year as Head of State, desires to manipulate the second chamber once it's created, to amend a clause in the Constitution and ultimately extend his stay in power.

The opposition further argues that the creation of a second senate will not only serve the interest of the ruling government, but it will also cripple the state's coffers.

This is the second time in a month that police have fired tear gas to disrupt an opposition demonstration against the creation of the second senate.

On 29 June, police officers fired teargas and chased the opposition while they were demonstrating in the capital, causing injuries to several citizens and journalists.

The MFWA is alarmed at the recent spate of violent attacks against the opposition, who have a constitutional right to peaceful demonstrations. We urge a meeting between the security authorities and the leadership of the opposition groups to dialogue and protect citizen's rights and safety.

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