Demonstrators in Burkina Faso last Month
Students in Burkina Faso are demonstrating in support of teachers, who are on strike for a living wage
Thousands of students demonstrated in the capital Ouagadougou, then entered the education ministry, smashing windows and burning documents. The students are demanding that the government listen to the teachers' demands. One protester told the Associated Press
agency: 'we want the government to know that investing in education is important and they have to listen to the teachers' demands.' Demonstrators seized buses and demanded that the drivers pick up more students to join the demonstrations.
The teachers have made their demands known since January but the government has done nothing.The President Blaise Compaore has been in power for 24 years. Earlier this year there were student protests when a young man died in police custody. Then a month ago the army mutinied because of unpaid housing allowances. There have also been large demonstrations against rising food and fuel prices.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries of the world with a 77% unemployment rate according to one source. Just under half the population live below the poverty line and the vast majority are involved with subsistence agricluture. The IMF has been pressurising the government to privatise and made it possible for mining companies to start to extract gold from the country. Meanwhile public servants like teachers have to live in intolerable conditions and many people suffer from hunger.