by Sara Jerving
Justin Zongo, was detained by police and died while under their custody—students assert he was tortured to death, while the government reports meningitis as the cause. Zongo’s death fueled further protests among students. This anger—coupled by other bottled-up tensions—sparked Arab Spring-style demonstrations among other sectors of society—the military, police offices, merchants, and even the presidential guard. The protesters have called for an end to high levels of unemployment, the rising cost of living, inadequate delivery of public services and state repression under a president who has reigned for 24 years. Last month, President Blaise Compaore’s armed guard launched a mutiny against him, demanding that housing subsidies be paid. Compaore responded by dissolving the government and firing the head of his presidential guard, the chiefs of the army, air force and police.
A representative of a teacher’s group involved in the strike, Emmanuel Dembele, told The Associated Press that the group had outlined their demands to the government since early January.
“So far nothing has been done, only promises, promises we are not buying again,” he said. “It is up to the government, if they make positive steps we are going to resume classes.”