CategoryPopular Uprisings

The streets speak in Africa! by Mirjam de Bruijn

Students on their moto bikes, accompanying the corps of a fellow student to Walia. The student was killed during the demonstration on 9 March in N’Djamena.

The cruel death of my friend’s cousin during the demonstration of students from high school and university in N’Djamena on 9 March, hits hard, the photo of the tortured body sent via whatsapp showing useless violence. The family will bury the young man in the village after they refused the 3 million Francs CFA (4,573 Euros) offered by the government that some interpreted as money to silence them.
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Popular Uprising led to Political Turnover in Burkina Faso – Struggles over Legitimacy and Legality, by Sten Hagberg

The last very dramatic days has led to a particularly complicated, and yet, fascinating political process of society and change in Burkina Faso. Even though the popular uprising last week did not come as a surprise for observers of Burkinabe politics, the rapidity of the ending of the 27 years of reign of Blaise Compaoré was unexpected. After years of attempts by Compaoré and his regime to find ways of changing Paragraph 37 of the Constitution, the Burkinabe government finally crossed the Rubicon at its extraordinary council meeting on 21 October 2014 when it took the decision to send the proposed Bill to the National Assembly. This was the ultimate decision that would definitely open for a change of Paragraph 37 and, in practice, allow Compaoré another term, and possibly even up to 15 years more in power. That decision became “a pill too difficult to swallow” (une pilule trop difficile à avaler) for the Burkinabe. Continue reading

Burkina Faso uprising – between popular participation and military intervention, by Cristiano Lanzano

Is this a people’s revolution, or a coup d’état? The uncertain definition of recent events in Burkina Faso, after former president Blaise Compaoré resigned and the army announced they would take control of a transitional phase and suspend the constitution, is not only haunting international press but also lingering in the internal debate. These are confusing days. Politicians from the opposition have stated that “the army has confiscated our revolution” and asked people to demonstrate in order to put pressure on the military forces, asking for a civil transition toward the next elections. On the opposite side, representatives of Balai Citoyen (“the civic broom”, a youth movement created about one year ago and represented publicly by local well-known artists like reggaeman Sams’k Le Jah or rapper/singer Smockey), the main actor in the organization of recent demonstrations, on the opposite side, have confirmed for the moment their cautious support to the idea of the army managing the transition, and suspect the opposition parties of trying to appropriate a mass movement that they have not created in the first place. Indeed, the opposition parties have been quite hesitant in questioning Compaoré’s regime, at least until recently.
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Protests against Morsi (by Maria Malmström)

Massive protests have taken place in several Egyptian cities against the president’s moves last Thursday to grant himself extensive new powers. Read more on BBC.

NAI researcher Maria Malmström talks to anthropologist Samuel Schielke about the protests in Egypt.

− The latest events have positive potential to strengthen the presence and power of a strong opposition. But they also have destructive potential in an increasingly polarised political situation. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood I met last month often expressed the feeling that they are under attack from all sides

Tahrir against Morsi’s decree. Courtesy of Hanna Sistek

by forces that hate Islam. They are bound to see themselves as victims of today’s events, and this carries the risk of radicalising them, making them only more determined to push matters their way, whatever the cost, says Samuel Schielke.

– The collective anger that the vast majority of people in Egypt have been feeling since last Thursday can be a unifying force that all parts of the political opposition can rally around. Furthermore, one thing seems clear, Egyptians of today – both pro- and anti-Morsi – will not accept a new dictator, says NAI researcher Maria Malmström. Continue reading

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